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FUTURE  PUNISHMENT; 

OR  — 

DOES  DEATH  END  PROBATION  ? 

Materialism,    Immortality    of    the   Soul  ; 

Conditional    Immortality    or     Annihilationism  ; 

Universalism    or    Restorationism  ; 

Optimism  or  Eternal  Hope  ; 
Probationism    and    Purgatory. 


By  the  REY'D  WILLIAM  GO0HRANE.  D.  D.. 

(Ex-Moderator  of  the  General  Assembly  of  the  Presbyterian  Church  in  Canada,) 

Author    of     "The    Heaveni-y    Vision;"      "Christ     and     Christian     Life;" 
''  Warning  and  Welcome  ;  "  Etc 


With  Illustrative  Nctes  from  the  Writings  of  Emment   British  and 
American  Scientists  and  Theologians 

—  ALSO  — 

Additional  papers   prepared  especially  lor  this   Book,  by  the  Rev. 
Wm.  McLaren,  D.  D.,  Professor  of  Systematic  Theology,  Knox 
College,  Toronto;  Rev.  A.  Carman,  D.  D.,  General  Superin- 
tendent of  the  Methodist  Church  ;  Rev.  J.  W.  Shaw, 
M.  A.,  LL.  B.,  Professor,   Methodist  Theological 
College,  Montreal ;  Rev.  Wm.  Stewart.  D.  D., 
Baptist  Church  ;  Rev.  John  Burton,  B.  D., 
Congregational  Church,  Toronto  ;  and 
Archbishop  Lynch,  Toronto. 


ILLUSTRATED   BY  THE  CELEBRATED  FRENCH    ARTIST. 
GUSTAVE  DORE, 

from  dantf.'s  "infern'i"  and  'purgatory   and   paradise  " 


DRAXTFORD.   ONT.,   ST.   JOHN,   N.    B.,   MELBOURNE   AND 
PORT  ADELAIDE,  AUSTRALIA, 

BRADLEY,   GARRETSON    &    CO., 

1886. 


Eiitered  accorJino  to  Act  of  Parliament  of  Canada,  in  the  Year  Eif^lifeeu 

Hundred   and  Eighty-five,    by  Bradley,    Garretson    &    Co.,  iu 

the  Oflice  of  the  Minister  of    Agriculture. 


PREFACE 


"^  HE  Doctrine  ot  Future  Punishment  has  for  many  years 
;,'  ^  engaged  the  attention  of  thinking  minds,  on  both  sides 
the  Atlantic.  Notable  departures  from  the  old  faith 
have  but  stimulated  enquiry,  and  led  to  greater  study 
of  those  portions  of  God's  word  which  treat  of  this  all- 
important  truth.  The  result  cannot  be  otherwise  than  bene- 
Although  in  the  somewhat  severe  conflict  of  opinions,  the 
discussion  may  not  always  seem  profitable  or  promotive  of  Christian 
charity,  yet  in  the  end  it  must  lead  to  a  more  intelligent  conception 
of  the  truth,  and  a  deeper  reverence  for  the  Volume  of  inspiration. 
This  treatise  has  been  written  and  compiled  at  the  request  of 
the  Publishers,  to  meet  a  felt  want  in  many  Christian  homes.  Vol- 
umes by  specialists  in  Science  and  Theology  abound,  but  these  for 
the  most  part  are  beyond  the  capacity  and  comprehension  of  the 
ordinary  reader,  and  only  treat  of  some  one  phase  of  the  question, 
with  which  the  writer  is  specially  concerned.  An  attempt  has  been 
made  in  the  present  work  to  discuss,  however  cursorily,  nearly  all 
the  leading  views  held  regarding  the  future  punishment  of  the 
wicked,  in  the  simplest  possible  language,  and  at  the  same  time  to 
include  in  the  Notes  and  separate  papers,  the  more  scholarly  and 
abstruse  discussions  of  thoughtful  minds,  both  in  the  old  world  and 
the  new.  To  students,  therefore,  as  well  as  to  the  general  reader, 
it  is  hoped  that  the  volume  may  at  least  be  helpful,  if  not 
exhaustive. 

Instead  of  proceeding  at  once  to  discuss  the  doctrine  of  Univer- 
salism,  as  opposed   to  the   orthodox   view   held    by    Evangelical 


6  KUTURt:   PUNISHMENT. 

churches,  the  tcnchlnj^s  of  Materialism  are  first  considered.  For,  if 
as  is  allc;j;cd  by  Materiah'sts,  there  is  no  immortah'ty  for  man,  it  is 
useless  to  discuss  the  different  opinions  held  as  to  the  nature  or 
duration  of  punishment,  in  a  state  which  has  no  existence.  Is  there 
a  future  state?  Is  the  present  the  precursor  of  an  endless  exist- 
ence? Is  man  an  accountable  being?  or  is  the  grave  an  eternal 
sleep,  and  heaven  and  hell  mere  speculations,  without  anything 
approaching  reality?  Such  questions  meet  us  on  the  very  thresh- 
hold  of  the  subject,  and  demand  consideration  before  all  others. 

Following  this  and  closely  connected  with  the  main  question, 
several  chapters  have  been  devoted  to  a  consideration  of  "  Condi- 
tional Immortality,"  "Optimism,":  Probationism,  Purgatory  and 
Agnosticism  ;  until  finally,  and  at  greater  length,  the  old  orthodo.x 
view  of  Eternal  Punishment  is  discussed,  as  opposed  to  modern 
rationalism  and  restorationism  : — theories  —  which  if  we  rightly 
judge,  undermine  all  faith  worthy  of  the  name,  and  rob  the  Al- 
mighty of  His  holiest  and  most  glorious  attributes. 

Those  who  e.xpect  to  find  in  this  Volume,  a  mere  "symposium  " 
of  the  different  opinions  held  regarding  Future  Punishment,  will  be 
disappointed.  While  an  earnest  endeavor  has  been  made,  not  to 
misrepresent  the  views  held  by  those  who  are  at  variance  with  the 
Evangelical  Creed,  no  uncertain  sound  is  given  as  to  the  opinions 
held  by  the  several  writers.  I  know  that  it  is  said  by  some,  that 
old-fashioned  doctrinal  preaching  is  dying  out :  that  old  doctrines 
have  sunk  into  oblivion  :  that  future  retribution  is  now  only  alluded 
to  :  that  eternal  punishment  is  never  taught  in  the  pulpit  of  to-day  ; 
and  that  in  the  few  instances  where  the  orthodo.x  creed  is  held,  the 
prosperity  of  the  church  is  blighted,  the  pulpit  loses  its  power  over 
tiie  masses,  vital  religion  dies  out,  sanctuaries  are  deserted,  and  edu- 
cated men  become  infidels  !  Those  who  speak  thus,  wilfully  mis- 
represent facts.  In  Canada  and  the  United  States,  the  pulpit  was 
never  more  definite  and  outspoken  regarding  the  Doctrine  of  Eter- 
nal I'uiiishmcnt  than  at  the   present  moment  ;  orthodo.x  congrega- 


PREFACE.  7 

tions  were  never  more  numerous  and  aggressive,  and  contributions 
to  missions  never  more  liberal. 

To  those  of  my  brethren  in  the  different  churches,  who  have  so 
kindly  aided  me  in  the  preparation  of  this  Volume,  my  best  thanks 
are  due.  Without  their  contributions,  the  discussion  of  this  mo- 
mentous question  would  have  been  far  less  valuable  than  it  is. 

I  trust  that  the  Publishers,  who  have  undertaken  the  responsi- 
bility of  issuing  the  Volume,  and  all  who  ma\'  promote  its  circula- 
tion, may  feel,  that  apart  from  any  monetary  return,  they  have 
aided  in  the  defence  of  "  the  faith,  once  delivered  to  the  saints." 

Finally,  and  in  the  words  of  another  :  "  Whatever,  be  the  fate 
of  human  speculations  on  this  tremendous  topic,  be  it  ours  to  cul- 
tivate the  simplicity  of  faith  which  is  independent  of  them.  Even 
though  in  its  vastness  and  mystery  it  continue  to  rebuke  our  feeble 
reason,  let  it  stand  in  the  naked  simplicity  of  fact  ;  a  truth  great, 
and  terrible  and  certain  ;  planted  deep  in  the  nature  of  God's  attri- 
butes, and,  therefore,  unfathomable  as  all  things  that  are  of  Him  ; 
but  withal  addressing  itself  to  the  simplest  and  strongest  feelings 
of  man,  his  dread  of  pain,  his  horror  of  shame,  and  misery,  and 
death  ;  meeting  him  at  every  turn  to  evil,  and  casting  a  fearful 
shadow  across  those  pleasures  that  are  not  of  God,  and  those  glories 
where  God's  glory  is  forgotten  ;  meeting  him  at  the  first  fatal  step 
upon  that  course  which  ends  in  the  abyss  of  woe  it  denounces,  and 
warning  him  at  once  to  flee  the  bondage  of  seductions  which  grow 
as  they  are  obliged,  and  strengthen  with  every  victory  ;  warning 
him  that  all  the  temporal  results  of  sin — are  but  shadows  of  the 
overwhelming  penalty  it  brings,  when  the  mercy,  which  still  re- 
strains to  these  limits  the  fulness  of  divine  vengeance  shall  have 
ceased  ;  and  the  sin  and  the  punishment  which  are  now  but  tem- 
porary, passing  together  into  the  world  of  eternity,  and  still,  as  ever, 
bound  in  inseparable  links,  shall  become  themselves  alike  eternal." 

WILLIAM  COCHRANE. 
Brantford,  Ontario, 


LIST   OF   AUTHOHITIES. 


Note. — The  following  Authors,  among  others,  have  been  con- 
sulted or  quoted,  in  the  preparation  of  this  volume  : 


Abbott,  Lyman  Dr. 
Abler,  Professor  Felix 
Allon,  Dr.  Henry 
Argyll,  His  Grace  the  Duke  of 

Augustine. 

Barnes,  Dr.  Albert 
Bartlett,  Professor 
Bascom,  President  John 
Beecher,  Dr.  Lyman 
Beecher,  H.  W. 
Brady,  Rev'd  Cheyne 
Breckenridge,  Dr.  R.  J. 
Brewster,  Sir  David 
BusHNELL,  Dr.  Horace 

Caird,  Principal 
Candlish,  Principal 
Carlyle,  Thomas 
Clemance,  Dr.  Clement 
Cook,  Rev'd  Joseph 
Constable,  Rev'd  H. 
Cumming,  Dr.  John 

Dale,  Dr.  R.  W. 

Dante, 

Darwin,  Professor 

Dawson,  Sir  J.  W. 

Delitzsch,  Professor 

Dick,  Dr.  John 

Edwards,  Dr.  Jonathan 
K.MERSON,  R.\lph  Waldo 


Farrar,  Canon 
Franklin,  Benjamin 
Fraser,  Dr.  William 

Haeckel,  Professor 
Harrison,  Frederick 
Hirschfelder,  Professor 
Hodge,  Dr.  Charles 
Hugo,  Victor 
Hume,  David 
Huxley,  Professor 

Kellogg,  Professor  S.  H. 
KiNGSLEY,  Rev'd  Charles 
KiTTO,  Dr.  John 
Knapp,  Dr.  G.  C. 

Leighton,  Archbishop 
Lyell,  Professor 

Mathieson,  Dr.  George 
Maurice,  Professor  F.  D. 
Hunger,  Dr.  T.  T. 

McCosH,  Dr.  James 
McGiLVRAY,  Dr.  Walter 
McLeod,  Dr.  Donald 
McLeod,  Dr.  Norman 

Newton,  Sir  Isaac 

Parker,  Theodore 
Patterson,  Dr.  Robert 
Patton,  Dr.  F.  L 


lO 


rUTUKE   PUNISHMENT. 


Pearson.  Bishop 
Petti Nc; ELL,  Rev'd  J.  II 
Phelps,  Professor 
Plumptre,  Professor 
PuNSHON,  Dr.  Morley 
PusEV,  Dr.  E.  B. 

Rogers,  Proeessor-George 
Robertson.  Rev'd  F.  W. 
Robinson,  Dr.  Stuart 

Saurin,  Rev.  James 
Shedd,  Professor  W.  T.  G. 
Smith,  Professor  Henry  B. 
Smith,  Professor  Joseph  H'y 


Spencer,  IIkrbI'.rt 
Spurgeon,  Rev'd  C.  II. 
Stuart,  Professor  Moses 
Symington,  Dr.  A.  Macleod 

SWEDENBORG,  EMMANUEL 

Thornwell,  Dr.  J.  H. 
Thompson,  Dr.  J.  P. 

TVNDALL,   PFvOFESSOR 

Wallace,  Professor 
Watts,  Dr.  Robert 
White,  Rev'd  Edward 
Whittier,  J.  G. 


CONTENTS. 


'INTRODUCTORY.     Different  views  held  as  to  a  future 
'f^j  ^     .    .    . 

state.     The  Materialistic — Annihilationist — Optimistic 

— Probationist — Romish — Dantean — Agnostic — Uni" 

versalist — And  Orthodox. 
Materialism. — Man  nothing  but  a  Material  Organism, 
whose  conscious  existence  terminates  at  death — The  theory 
in  some  form  or  other  advocated  for  thousands  of  years — Prevalent 
in  China  three  hundred  years  before  the  christian  era.  Teaches 
that  every  particle  of  matter  is  endued  with  life.  Common  distinc- 
tion between  mind  and  matter  ignored.  The  Universe  always  has 
existed,  and  must  continue  to  exist  for  ever.  At  death  man  as  an 
individual  ceases  to  exist,  but  the  forces  which  belong  to  him  enter 
into  the  composition  of  other  men.  All  existence  traced  to  matter, 
which  never  having  been  created  cannot  be  destroyed.  Immateri- 
ality and  Spirituality,  meaningless  words.  Feeling,  thought  and 
will,  only  modifications  of  the  nerves  and  brain.  Belief  in  a  future 
life  a  dream  and  a  delusion.  Materialists  not  all  agreed  as  to  the 
value  of  the  conclusions  aimed  at.  Some  disown  the  name.  Quo- 
tations from  Haeckel,  Huxley  and  Tyndall. 

Evolution. — Differs  from   Materialism,     Does  not  do   away 
with  the  necessity  of  a  Creator.     The  present  course  of  nature,  a 
development  of  original  and  infinitely  early  laws,     Man  the  legiti- 
mate offspring  of  the  bestial  race  by  a  link  of  unbroken  succession  ^ 
The  chemic  lump  shapes  itself  into  the  human  form,  and  withir 


12  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

the  recesses  of  the  human  brain  assumes  a  spiritual  character,  and 
thinks.  Baselessness  of  such  a  theory  shown,  by  quotations  from 
the  writings  of  MacGilvray,  Newton,  Sir  David  Brewster,  and 
others  ;  with  Notes  on  Materialism  and  Evolution  from  the  writings 
of  Professor  Lyell,  Alfred  Russell  Wallace,  Professor  Joseph  Henry 
Smith,  Dr.  R.  Patterson,  Professor  Henry  B.  Smith,  Dr.  Charles 
Hodge,  The  Duke  of  Argyle,  Thomas  Carlyle,  Dr.  James  McCosh, 
and  Sir  J.  W.  Dawson. 

The  Immortality  of  the  Soul. — Arguments  drawn  from 
(a)  The  almost  universal  belief  of  mankind,  (b)  The  Analogy  of 
Nature,  (c)  Reason,  (d)  Revelation.  Doctrine  of  a  future  state 
held  by  nearly  all  nations.  To  what  is  this  to  be  traced  ?  Greek 
and  Roman  mythology,  Chinese,  African  and  Hindoo  worship,  all 
recognize  existence  beyond  the  grave.  The  Mahommedan  creed 
gives  prominence  to  the  doctrine.  Nothing  in  nature  opposed  to 
it.  Death  destroys  the  sensible  proof,  but  gives  no  reason  for  sup- 
posing that  the  grave  ends  the  aspirations  of  the  life.  Yearnings 
after  a  future  existence.  Proof  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul  from 
the  general  law  of  adaptation.  Dr.  Chalmers'  Bridgewater  treatise. 
The  present  condition  of  the  world,  and  the  unequal  distribution  of 
rewards  and  punishments  demand  it.  Clearly  announced  in  Scrip- 
ture. Translation  of  Enoch  and  Elijah.  Testimony  of  Moses, 
David,  Solomon,  the  Apostles,  and  Christ  himself.  Professor 
Hirschfelder's  argument,  founded  on  the  creation  of  man.  Job's 
words,  "  I  know  that  my  Redeemer  liveth."  Greg's  statement, 
"  Immortality  a  matter  of  intuition,  not  of  inference — the  soul  per- 
petually reveals  itself."  Opinions  of  Ralph  Waldo  Emerson,  Lord 
Byron  and  others  ;  with  Notes  on  the  Immortality  of  the  Soul, 
from  the  writings  of  Dr,  R.J.  Breckcnridge,  President  Bascom,  and 
Rev.  Dr.  T.  T.  Munger. 

Conditional  Immortality,  or  Anniiiilationism. — Im- 
mortality not  natural,  inherent  and  unconditional,  but  bestowed 
only  upon  the  believer  in  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,     rromlncnt  advo- 


CONTEiNTb.  13 

cates  of  the  doctrine.  Condensed  statement  of  their  views.  Scrip- 
ture texts  cited  and  examined  in  support  of  and  against.  Meaning 
ot  the  Greek  words,  "  Olethros,"  "  Apollumi,"  "  Apolonto,"  &c. 
Rev.  George  Rogers  on  the  Annihilation  theory.  Argument  from 
the  mercy  of  God.  Parable  of  the  Rich  man  and  Lazarus  consid- 
ered. "  Conditional  Immortality,"  by  the  Rev.  Wm.  McLaren, D.D., 
Professor  of  Systematic  Theology,  Knox  College,  Toronto. 

Optimism. — Canon  Farrar's  "  Eternal  Hope." — Rejects 
Universalism,  Annihilationism,  and  Purgatory  (as  held  by  Roman 
Catholics).  Agrees  with  the  teachings  of  the  Evangelical  Churches, 
that  sin  cannot  be  forgiven,  until  repented  of  and  forsaken.  Rejects 
physical  torments,  and  the  doctrine  that  endless  punishment  is  the 
doom  of  all  who  die  in  a  state  of  sin.  Canon  Farrar's  exaggerated 
statements  as  to  the  views  held  by  orthodox  christians.  No  valid 
Scriptural  grounds  assigned  for  this  "  Eternal  Hope."  Quotations 
from  writers  holding  similar  views.  Tendency  of  the  theory  to 
unsettle.  Of  no  practical  benefit.  Gives  men  an  excuse  for  con- 
tinuance in  sin.  Easy  to  understand  what  is  denied — difficult  to 
discover  what  is  believed.  Canon  Farrar's  justification  of  his  posi- 
tion and  the  circumstances  of  publication,  unsatisfactory.  Reply 
by  Dr.  Allon.  Canon  Farrar's  views  of  Sternal  Punishment  as 
given  in  his  life  of  Christ.  The  true  grounds  of  hope.  The  Cer- 
tainty of  Endless  Punishment,  with  special  reference  to  the  views 
of  Canon  Farrar,  by  the  Rev'd  W.  T.  G.  Shedd,  D.  D.,  Professor  in 
Union  Theological  Seminary,  New  York. 


PROBATIONISM— PURGATORY.— THE   DANTEAN 
THEORY  OF  PHYSICAL  SUFFERING. 

PROBATIONISM  DEFINED. — Differs  from  Optimism  and  pur- 
gatorial purification.  Various  opinions  as  to  when  probation  ends. 
Testimony  of  Scripture  regarding  the  theory.  Arguments  against 
Probationism   and    Universalism   similar.       Salvation   entirely   the 


14  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

result  of  faith  in  Jesus  Ciirist,  without  future  probation  or  purga- 
torial suffering.  Cardinal  Wiseman's  testimony.  Practical  results 
of  such  a  theory.  Wherever  philosophy  has  taught,  that  "the 
gods  do  not  punish"  licentiousness  has  prevailed.  Illustrations 
from  the  degeneracy  of  the  Roman  Empire.  Effect  of  the  writings 
of  Voltaire,  Diderot  and  others.  Mohammed  and  the  poison  cup. 
The  poetr>^  of  repentance  beyond  the  grave.  Whittier's  earlier  and 
later  convictions. 

Purgatory. — A  state  of  preparation  and  purification,  prior  to 
entrance  upon  everlasting  bliss.  Quotations  from  Catholic  Period- 
cals.  The  doctrine  in  a  modified  sense  held  by  such  writers  as 
Canon  Farrar.  The  arguments  from  Scripture  in  favor  of  purga- 
tory examined.  Christ's  preaching  to  the  spirits  in  prison.  The 
unpardonable  sin,  or  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost.  Personality  of 
the  Holy  Ghost.  His  work.  In  what  does  the  sin  consist.  Is  it 
one  act  or  a  series  of  acts.  Different  views.  Evidence  that  such 
a  sin  has  been  committed. 

The  Dantean  Theory  of  Physical  Suffering.— Few 
Christians  now  retain  it  as  an  article  of  belief.  The  Church  of 
Rome  merely  says  "  that  it  is  dangerous  to  deny  that  future  pun- 
ishment may  be  physical."  The  Hell  of  Dante  real.  The  lake  of 
fire  and  brimstone  not  figurative,  but  actual  representations  of 
future  torment.  Sketchof  the  Poet's  life.  Birth — education — appli- 
cation to  study — attainments  and  accomplishments.  His  love  for 
Beatrice  Portinari.  His  public  and  political  life.  Exile  and  return 
to  Florence.  Earlier  works  but  little  known.  His  greatest  effort 
"  The  Divine  Commedia,"  comprising  "  The  Inferno,"  "  The  Pur- 
gatorio,"  and  the  "  Paradiso."  Begun  about  the  year  1300 — finished 
probably  about  1320.  Brief  description  of  the  poems.  Specimen 
stanzas  taken  from  "The  Inferno,"  illustrating  the  awful  sufferings 
of  the  lost.  Character  of  Dante's  genius.  Results  of  his  life.  His 
last  days  and  death.  His  tomb  at  Ravenna.  Notes  on  Proba- 
tionism  and  Purgatory  from  the  writings  of  Professor  S.  H.  Kellogg, 


CONTENTS.  15 

Professor  E.  H.  Plumptre,  Dr.  John  Dick,  Dr.  John  Brown,  and  Dr. 
Charles  Hodge. 

AcxoSTltlSM. — Its  Athenian  prototype.  Gnostics  and  Agnos- 
tics compared.  Agnosticism  denies  the  cardinal  doctrines  of  the 
Christian  creed.  Believes  neither  in  mind,  matter,  nor  God.  Not 
a  new  heresy,  though  formerly  called  by  other  names.  The  Agnos- 
tic creed.  Agnostics  refuse  to  be  called  Atheists — they  only  ignore 
God.  They  worship  the  "  Great  Unknown,"  assured  that  IT  IS. 
Opinions  of  Drs.  McCosh  and  Caird.  The  Agnostic  denial  of  a 
God  leads  to  the  denial  of  man's  personality  and  a  future  state.  Of 
such  a  state  there  is  a  possibility,  but  no  hope.  To  expect  it,  is 
weak  and  ignoble.  Man's  ideal  existence  is  in  the  lives  of  others 
only.  Theists  admit  that  there  are  many  things  which  the  human 
mind  cannot  grasp  :  they  must  be  accepted  by  faith.  Yet  God  is 
not  unknowable.  Spurgeon's  description  of  the  Agnostic  creed. 
Agnostics  not  examples  of  humility.  Boastful  of  human  reason. 
Tendencies  of  the  theory — Fails  to  satisfy  the  yearnings  of  the  soul 
— affords  no  consolation  in  the  hour  of  trial — takes  away  a  religious 
faith,  and  puts  nothing  in  its  place  but  the  unknowable  !  Such  a 
creed  can  never  be  accepted  by  the  great  body  of  any  people.  With 
notes  and  an  additional  paper  on  "  Agnosticism  "  by  the  Rev.  James 
McCosh,  D.  D.,  and  the  Rev.  John  Burton,  B.  D.,  Northern  Con- 
gational  Church,  Toronto. 

UniverSALISM,  or  RestORATIONISM. — The  word  used  in  two 
senses.  Summary  of  what  Universalists  believe  in  common  with 
other  Christians  and  what  they  reject.  The  Orthodox  or  Evan- 
gelical view  of  future  punishment,  as  opposed  to  Universalism. 
Universalists  seldom  confine  themselves  to  the  question  at  issue, 
but  misrepresent  the  orthodox  creed.  Jonathan  Edward's  writings 
often  quoted  for  this  purpose.  Such  criticism  unfair.  Makes  no 
allowance  for  the  rhetoric  of  impassioned  preachers.  Quotations 
from  other  theologians,  Pusey,  Archer  Butler,  Professor  Mansel  and 
Spurgeon.       Drs.  Hodge,  Phelps,  and    Bartlett  on   the  Metaphors 


IC  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

and  Symbols  of  Scripture.  While  often  too  literally  pressed,  they 
represents  dreadful  realities.  Universalists  admit  that  sins  com- 
mitted and  unpardoned  in  the  present  life  must  be  dealt  with  in 
the  next.  After  death,  however,  the  worst  specimens  of  human 
beings  shall  be  reclaimed.  Sin  is  misfortune  without  guilt.  God 
cannot  consistently  doom  men  to  endless  retribution.  The  ortho- 
dox view  is  that  sin  perpetuates  itself — that  with  no  remedial  influ- 
ences it  increases  in  heinousness,  from  one  degree  of  wickedness  to 
another,  without  possibility  of  change.  Quotations  from  the  writ- 
ings of  Swedenborg,  Joseph  Cook,  Dr.  Albert  Barnes,  Andrew 
Jukes,  Professors  Watts  and  Phelps.  The  objection  considered,  that 
eternal  punishment  is  against  the  justice  and  benevolence  of  God. 
Arguments  from  Scripture  considered.  The  true  meanings  of  the 
words  '•  Aeon,"  "  Aionios,"  and  "  Aionial."  The  conclusions  arrived 
at  regarding  them  by  Professor  Moses  Stuart  and  others.  Th: 
broad  thinkers  of  the  day  not,  as  alleged,  Universalists.  Views  of 
Charles  Kingsley,  F  W.  Robertson,  Norman  McLeod,  and  others. 
Summary  of  the  arguments  advanced  in  behalf  of  the  orthodox 
creed.  Positive  objections  to  Universalism.  Antagonistic  to  the 
teachings  of  God's  Word.  Leads  to  utter  rejection  of  the  funda- 
mental truths  of  Christianity.  Universalism  tested  by  the  number 
of  its  adherents  and  its  actual  results,  gives  no  cause  for  alarm. 
Few  unhesitatingly  accept  it  as  a  ground  of  trust.  Growth  of  the 
sect  marvellously  slow,  compared  with  that  of  other  churches.  Does 
little  for  the  good  of  society  or  the  amelioration  of  present  wrongs  ; 
with  Notes  and  Additional  papers  on  Future  Punishment,  by  Rev. 
Principal  Cairns,  D.  D.,  Rev.  Francis  L.  Patton,  D.  D.,  LL.  D., 
Princeton,  N.  J.,  Rev.  James  Saurin,  Rev.  Stuart  Robinson,  D.  D., 
Rev.  Wm.  J.  Shaw,  M.  A.,  LL.  B..  Methodist  Theological  College, 
Montreal  ;  Rev.  Wm.  Stewart,  D.  D.,  Baptist  Church,  Clieltenhani  ; 
Rev.  A.  Carman,  D.  D.,  General  Superintendent  of  Missions,  Canada 
Methodist  Church  ;  and  Archbishop  Lynch,  Toronto. 
Practical  reflections.       Index. 


INTRODUCTORY. 


EFORE  discussing   the  question    of  the    "  Eternity  ol 
future  punishment,"  let  us  briefly  indicate  the  different 

,.. --        views  held  as  to  a  future  state.     Next  to  the  question 

^^^  ^^  of  the  being  of  a  God,  no  inquiry  is  more  natural  for 
every  individual  to  make  and  settle,  than  this  :  "  Is 
my  existence  limited  by  time,  or  shall  I  continue  to 
liye  throughout  the  endless  ages  of  eternity  ?"  Upon  our  belief  or 
rejection  of  the  doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  much  ol 
our  happiness  depends,  even  on  this  side  the  grave. 

The  different  theories  held  as  to  a  future  state  are  these  : 

The  Materialistic. — Man  is  nothing  but  a  material  organ- 
ism, whose  conscious  existence  is  terminated  at  death.  Materialism 
is  indeed  but  the  old  Sadducean  disbelief  in  immortality — no  resur- 
rection, no  future  life,  no  heaven,  no  hell  :  let  us  eat,  drink  and  be 
merry,  for  to-morrow  we  die. 

The  Annihilationist. — The  soul  is  not  naturally  immortal, 
and  can  only  be  made  immortal  by  union  with  the  Saviour.     The 
incorrigibly  wicked  shall  therefore  sooner  or  later  cease  to  exist,  for 
there  is  no  future  for  any  but  believers  in  Christ. 
2 


l3  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

The  Optimistic. — Affirming  neither  the  Univcrsah'st  nor  Res- 
torationist  nor  Agnostic  theories,  it  indulges  in  an  eternal  hope. 
Canon  Farrar,  who  occupies  this  position,  says,  that  although  he 
cannot  preach  the  certainty  of  Universalism,  he  must  yet  lift  up, 
behind  the  darkness  in  the  background,  the  hope  that  every  winter 
will  turn  to  spring. 

The  Probationist. — Not  that  all  men  will  be  saved,  but  that 
those  who  die  impenitent  will  have  a  second  chance,  and  that  those 
who  do  not  improve  it,  will  fall  into  eternal  sin,  and  go  into  eternal 
punishment.  Men  may  thus  secure  the  pardon  after  death,  which 
they  failed  to  secure  while  they  lived  on  earth. 

The  Romish. — There  is  a  hell,  and  there  reprobate  angels  and 
lost  men  arc  eternally  punished.  While  not  teaching  authoritatively 
that  future  punishment  will  be  physical,  it  asserts  that  it  is  danger- 
ous to  deny  that  it  will  be  so. 

The  Dantean. — There  is  a  hell,  and  its  punishment  is  phy- 
sical and  real.  Such  descriptions  of  future  torment  as  "  the  lake  of 
fire  and  brimstone"  are  not  figurative,  but  literal  and  actual  repre- 
sentations of  the  awful  future  in  store  for  impenitent  souls. 

The  Agnostic. — We  know  nothing  whatever  about  the  future 
state.  Nature  throws  no  light  upon  the  question,  and  the  Bible 
reveals  nothing  of  a  definite  character  to  solve  the  mystery.  No 
one  has  ever  come  back  to  tell  us  anything  in  regard  to  his  welfare 
beyond  the  grave.  We  are  therefore  at  liberty  to  think  as  we 
please.  There  may  be,  and  there  may  not  be,  a  future  world. 
When  a  man  dies,  that  may  be  the  end  of  him,  or  he  may  enter 
some  fair  land,  to  be  forever  free  from  the  ills  of  the  present  life ! 

The  Universalist  or  Restorationist. — All  men  will  be 
ultimately  saved  and  restored  to  the  favor  of  God.  Sooner  or  later 
all  will  reach  heaven.  The  Universalist  Creed  is  as  follows  :  "  We 
believe  that  there  is  one  God,  whose  nature  is  love,  revealed  in  one 
Lord  Jesus  Christ,  b)'  one   Holy  Spirit  of  grace,  who  will  finally 


INTRODUCTORY.  I9 

restore  the  whole  family  of  mankind  to  holiness  and  happiness." 
One  of  our  best  known  poets,  expressing  this  hope  of  final  res- 
toration, says  : 

"  Oh  yet  we  trust  that  somehow  good 

'Will  be  the  final  goal  of  all; 

To  pangs  of  nature,  sins  of  will, 
Defects  of  doubt  and  taints  of  blood: 

That  nothing  walks  with  aimless  feet, 
That  not  one  life  shall  be  destroyed, 
Or  cast  as  rubbish  to  the  void, 

When  God  hath  made  the  pile  complete." 

The  Orthodox. — Future  punishment  is  everlasting.  At  death 
the  state  is  fixed  for  eternity.  No  man  who  dies  impenitent  will, 
after  death,  change  his  character  and  obtain  pardon.  Sin  is  self- 
propagating.  Where  sin  continues  punishment  will  continue. 
Reform  in  another  state  of  existence  is  not  supposable.  Men  who 
persevere  in  sin  from  the  beginning  to  the  end  of  life,  will  persevere 
in  sin  forever,  and  such  as  refuse  forgiveness  here  will  never  obtain 
it  hereafter.  It  is  appointed  unto  men  once  to  die,  and  afterwards 
there  comes — not  probation  — not  the  offer  of  mercy — but  the 
judgment. 


MATERIALISM. 


"  What  am  I,  whence  produced,  and  for  what  end  ? 
Whence  drew  I  being,  to  what  period  tend  ? 
Am  I  the  abandoned  orphan  of  blind  chance, 
Dropp'd  by  wild  atoms  in  disordered  dance? 
Or  from  an  endless  chain  of  causes  wrought, 
And  of  unthinking  substance,  born  with  thought, 
Am  I  but  what  I  seem,  mere  flesh  and  blood, 
A  branching  channel,  with  a  mazy  flood  ?" 


"  Eternal  life  is  Nature's  ardent  wish  : 
What  ardently  we  wish,  we  soon  believe  : 

Thy  tardy  faith  declares  that  wish  destroyed  : 

What  has  destroyed  it  ?     Shall  I  tell  thee  what  ? 

When  fear'd  the  future,  'tis  no  longer  wish'd  ; 

And  when  unwish'd,  we  strive  to  disbelieve. 

Thus  infidelity  our  guilt  betrays." 


MATERIATTSM. 


i 

'M 


'-'^'N  CONSIDERING  the  different  theories  held  regarding 
v'^4  "  Eternal  punishment,"  the  question  arises,  is  the  soul 
i-^  of  man  immortal  ?  "If  a  man  die,  shall  he  live  again?" 
^■^  If  according  to  Materialists  there  is  no  hereafter,  and 
^fl  man's  existence  ends  in  the  grave,  there  can  be  neither 
misery  or  happiness  beyond  the  present. 

It  is  held  by  some,  that  man  is  nothing  but  a  material  organism, 
iirhose  conscious  existence  is  terminated  at  death.  Although  this 
theory  is  now  prominently  and  zealously  discussed  by  a  certain 
class  of  scientists,  as  a  new  and  better  solution  of  creation  than  the 
first  chapter  of  the  book  of  Genesis  affords,  Materialism,  in  some 
form  or  other,  has  been  advocated  for  thousands  of  years.  It  is 
indeed  impossible  to  say  when  and  where  Materialism  began.  In 
China,  three  hundred  years  before  the  Christian  era,  it  was  preva- 
lent Quotations  from  the  writings  of  that  period  might  with  very 
little  change  be  accepted  as  the  creed  of  the  Materialists  in  the 
present  age.  Says  one  of  these  Chinese  philosophers  :  "  Wherein 
people  differ,  is  the  matter  of  life  ;  wherein  they  agree,  is  death. 
While  they  are  alive,  we  have  the  distinctions  of  intelligence  and 
stupidity,  honourableness  and  meanness  ;  when  they  are  dead,  we 
have  so  much  rottenness  decaymg  away  ; — this  is  the  common  lot 


24  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

All  arc  born,  and  all  die.  At  ten  years  old  some  die,  at  a  hundred 
years  old  some  die.  The  virtuous  and  the  sage  die  :  the  ruffian 
and  the  fool  also  die.  Alive  they  may  be  the  most  virtuous  of  men  ; 
dead,  they  are  so  much  rotten  bone.  When  about  to  die,  therefore, 
let  us  treat  the  thing  with  indifference  and  endure  it,  and  so 
ABANDON    OURSELVES   TO   ANNIHILATION  !" 

Materialism,  according  to  its  principal  exponents,  teaches  that 
•natter  is  endued  with  life  ;  that  every  particle  of  matter,  besides  its 
physical  properties,  has  a  principle  of  life  in  itself,  which  precludes 
the  necessity  of  assuming  any  other  cause  for  the  phenomena  of  life 
exhibited  in  the  world.  It  ignores  the  common  distinction  made 
between  matter  and  mind,  and  refers  the  phenomena  of  the  world, 
whether  physical,  vital  or  mental,  to  the  functions  of  matter.  The 
Universe  always  has  existed,  and  must  continue  to  exist  for  ever. 
As  defined  by  one  of  themselves  :  "  The  Materialistic  theory  is  that 
there  is  but  ONE  existence,  the  Universe,  and  that  it  is  eternal 
— without  beginning  or  end — that  the  matter  of  the  Universe  never 
could  have  been  created,  for  ex  nihilo  nihil  fit  (from  nothing  nothing 
can  come),  and  that  it  contains  within  itself  the  potency  adequate 
to  the  production  of  all  phenomena.  This  we  think  to  be  more 
conceivable  and  intelligent  than  the  Christian  theory  that  there  are 
two  existences — God  and  the  Universe — and  that  there  was  a  time 
when  there  was  but  one  existence,  God,  and  that  after  an  indefinite 
period  of  quiescence  and  "  masterly  inactivity,"  He  finally  created 
a  Universe  either  out  of  Himself  or  out  of  nothing — cither  one  of 
which  propositions  is  philosophically  absurd."  The  soul  is  thus 
material,  and  ceases  to  exist  when  the  bod)-  dies.  Death  is  the 
cessation,  not  only  of  the  vital  but  also  of  the  intellectual  functions 
of  the  individual.  The  atoms  of  which  the  man  is  composed,  with 
the  forces  which  belong  to  him  continue  to  exist,  and  ma}'  enter 
into  the  composition  of  other  men.  But  the  man  as  AN  INDIXIDUAL 
CEASES  TO  EXIST.  From  this  it  follows,  that  as  there  is  neither 
mind  or  spirit,  there  is  no  God  and   no  moral  law,  and  no  future 


MATERIALISM.  25 

state  of  existence  for  man.  "  Every  great  man  (says  Comte)  has 
two  forms  of  existence  :  one  conscious  before  death,  the  other  after 
death — UNCONSCIOUS — IN  THE  HEARTS  AND  INTELLECTS  OF 
OTHER   MEN." 

All  existence  is  thus  traced  to  mere  matter.  The  best  known 
and  most  widely  read  materialistic  text  books  teach,  that  matter  i^ 
eternal  and  independent  of  Almighty  will  ;  that  nothing  exists,  01 
can  exist,  that  is  not  material  ;  that  matter  and  force  are  insepar- 
able, eternal  and  indestructible  ;  that  inorganic  and  organic  forms 
are  simply  the  result  of  different  accidental  combinations  of  matter  ; 
that  life  is  a  particular  combination  of  matter,  taking  place  under 
favorable  circumstances  ;  that  the  soul  is  a  function  of  material 
organization,  and  thought  a  movement  of  matter.  The  physical 
universe  is  the  one  self-existent  necessary  eternal  being  :  all  sen- 
tient, and  each  part  performing  its  appropriate  function.  The  world 
was  uncaused,  and  exists  solely  of  itself.  Since  matter  is,  MATTER 
MUST  ALWAYS  HAVE  BEEN.  It  cannot  be  destroyed,  and  conse- 
quently cannot  be  created.  It  is  without  END,  AND  THEREFORE 
WITHOUT  BEGINNING.  It  is  the  basis  of  all  life,  and  ALL  LIVING 
FORMS  ARE  FUNDAMENTALLY  OF  ONE  CHARACTER.  The  matter 
of  life  is  composed  and  built  up  of  ordinary  matter,  differing  from 
it  only  in  the  manner  in  which  its  atoms  are  aggregated.  It  is  again 
resolved  into  ordinary  matter,  when  its  work  is  done.  Under  what- 
ever disguise  it  takes  refuge,  WHETHER  WORM  OR  MAN,  THE  LIVING 
MATTER  DIES,  AND  IS  RESOLVED  INTO  ITS  MINERAL  AND  LIFELESS 
CONSTITUENTS. 

It  follows  from  this,  that  immateriality  and  spirituality  are 
meaningless  words.  Feeling,  thought  and  will,  are  only  modifica- 
tions of  the  nerves  of  the  brain.  Belief  in  a  future  life  is  a  dream 
and  a  delusion.  The  grave  receives  the  whole  of  man.  In  a  literal 
sense,  the  poet's  words  fitly  express  such  a  creed  : 

"  Thou  art  safe  ! 
The  sleep  of  death  protects  thee,  and  secures 
I^^-om  all  the  unnumbered  woes  of  mortal  life." 


26  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Upon  this  materialistic  theory,  consciousness,  intclh'gcncc,  thous^ht 
and  moral  sense,  are  but  the  highest  development  of  the  faculty, 
*  by  which  the  lichen  draws  nutriment  from  the  air  or  the  rock." 
The  conscious,  intelligent,  thinking  moral  being,  is  as  much  a  mate- 
rial substance  as  the  lichen.  Its  intellectuality  is  due  to  the  organ- 
isation to  which  it  has  attained,  that  is,  to  a  certain  combination  of 
its  material  elements  and  the  forces  with  which  they  are  endowed. 
Consequently,  when  in  each  particular  instance  or  product,  the 
organisation  ceases  to  act,  the  combination  is  dissolved,  and  the 
separate  individual  intelligence, — what  we  call  mind  and  soul, — 
vanishes  entirely.  What  we  call  a  spiritual  essence  is  only  a  devel- 
oped animal  nature,  the  difference  between  man  and  beasts  being 
not  one  of  kind,  but  of  degree.  Humanity  is  only  a  higher  degree 
of  Animality.  We  have  no  right,  according  to  materialism,  to  sup- 
pose or  expect  a  personal  immortality.  Men  may  indeed  be  said 
to  live  after  death  in  the  memory  of  their  fellow  men,  but  OTHER 
DEATHLESS  EXISTENCE  THERE  IS  NONE.  If  all  mental  acts  and 
states  are  of  the  brain,  when  the  body  dies,  the  man  ceases  to  exist. 
The  brain  is,  according  to  this  atheistic  theory,  the  soul — the  part 
of  the  body  which  thinks — which  is  endowed  with  fibres  of  thinking, 
just  as  the  legs  have  muscles  of  motion.  Death,  which  destroj's 
the  rest  of  the  body,  destroys  the  brain,  the  so-called  soul.  When 
death  comes  the  farce  of  human  life  is  played  out ! 

There  is,  therefore,  according  to  this  hypothesis,  no  ground  for 
expecting  in  a  future  life  reward  or  punishment.  The  only  immor- 
tality is  that  when  the  body  is  disintegrated  it  will  enrich  the  earth, 
nourish  plants,  and  feed  other  generations  of  men.  Death  is  an 
eternal  sleep.  The  mind  cannot  exist  apart  from  the  body,  as  it 
cannot  come  into  existence  without  the  body.  What  is  dissolved 
at  death  is  devoid  of  sensation,  and  therefore  death  is  sim.ply  an 
escape  from  the  ills  of  life.  There  is  no  God,  no  fate,  no  other 
world,  no  recompense  for  acts.  Prosperity  is  heaven,  and  adversity 
is  hell,  and  there  is  no  other  heaven  or  hell.     Entire  human  disso- 


MATERIALISM.  2/ 

lution  is  coincident  with  death.  Life  is  only  a  phenomenon,  and 
death  joins  us  to  the  unreturning  past.  All  that  is  good  of  us 
IS  ABSORBED  INTO  GENERAL  AND  GENERIC  HUMANITY!  The 
race  we  have  served  is  our  sepulchre.  "  The  man  of  overwrought 
brain,  used  up,  worn-out  feelings  :  the  distempered  dreamer :  the 
reckless  worker  of  wrongs  :  the  disappointed  striver  for  an  earthly 
crown,  all  shall  have  a  common  slumber,  unconscious,  impervious, 
unbroken.  The  opiate  comes  at  last — oblivion  !  An  overshadow- 
ing that  covers  all." 

"  Cessation  is  true  rest 
And  sleep  for  them  oppres't, 
And  not  to  be — is  blest. 

Annihilation  is 

A  better  state  than  this  ; 

Better  than  woe  or  bliss. 

The  name  is  dread  :  the  thing 
Is  death  without  a  sting: 
An  overshadowing !" 

Thus  materialism  looks  down  the  gulf  of  annihilation,  and  amiV. 
th?  troubles  of  a  godless  existence,  feels  something  like  a  morbid 
satisfaction  in  the  thought,  that  the  present  scene  is  the  whole  of 
man.  Such  a  system  is  essentially  atheistic.  It  denies  the  exist- 
ence and  necessity  of  a  God,  and  the  immortality  of  the  soul. 
Professor  Huxley,  after  delineating  the  leading  features  of  his  phil- 
osophy, says  :  "In  accepting  these  conclusions,  you  are  placing 
your  feet  on  the  first  rung  of  a  ladder,  which  in  most  people's  esti- 
mation is  the  reverse  of  Jacob's,  and  leads  us  to  the  antipodes  of 
heaven.  I  should  not  wonder  if  "  gross  and  brutal  materialism " 
were  the  mildest  phrase  applied  to  them  in  certain  quarters.  Most 
undoubtedly  the  terms  of  the  propositions  are  DISTINCTLY  MATE- 
RIALISTIC. Nevertheless  I  can  discover  no  logical  halting  place 
between  admitting,  that  the  matter  of  the  animal  and  the  thoughts 
to  which  I  give  utterance,  are  SIMPLY  CHANGES  IN  THAT  MATTER 
OF  LIFE,  which  is  the  source  of  vital  phenomena." 


28  FUTURE    I'UNISHMENT. 

Materialists  are,  however,  by  no  means  agreed,  as  to  the  value 
of  tlic  conclusions  arrived  at.  Some  of  them  disown  the  name  by 
which  they  are  known,  although  it  is  of  their  own  choosing.  While 
Professor  Hackel  says,  "  that  materialism  is  now  established  on 
evidence  which  places  it  beyond  dispute,  and  that  the  time  has 
come  to  teach  it  to  children  in  the  form  of  a  catechism".  Professor 
Huxley  retorts  by  saying  :  "  I  am  no  materialist,  but  on  the  con- 
trary, believe  materialism  to  involve  grave  philosophical  error.  The 
materialistic  position,  that  there  is  nothing  in  the  world  but  matter, 
force  and  necessity,  is  as  utterly  devoid  of  justification,  as  the  most 
baseless  of  theological  dogmas.  All  who  are  competent  to  express 
an  opinion  (upon  the  mode  of  creation)  agree,  that  the  manifold 
varieties  of  animal  and  vegetable  form,  have  not  come  into  exist- 
ence by  chance,  nor  result  from  capricious  exertions  of  creative 
power  ;  but  that  they  have  taken  place  in  a  definite  order,  the 
statement  of  which  order  is  what  men  of  science  term  natural  law. 
The  plastic  matter  out  of  which  the  smallest  animal  is  formed, 
undergoes  changes  so  steady  and  purpose-like  in  their  succession, 
that  one  can  only  compare  them  to  those  operated  by  a  skilled 
modeler  upon  a  formless  lump  of  clay.  One  is  almost  possessed  by 
the  notion  that  some  more  subtle  aid  to  vision  than  an  achromatic 
would  show  the  hidden  artist  with  his  plan  before  him.,  striving  with 
skilful  manipulation  to  perfect  his  work."  And  in  his  article  on 
Biology,  contributed  by  Professor  Huxley  to  the  new  edition  of  the 
EncyclopcTedia  Brittannica,  he  says  :  "  The  fact  is  that  at  the  pres- 
ent moment  there  is  not  a  shadow  of  trustworthy  direct  evidence 
that  abiogenesis  (life  from  the  lifeless)  does  take  place,  or  has  taken 
place  within  the  period  during  which  the  existence  of  life  on  the 
globe  is  recorded.  But  it  need  hardly  be  pointed  out  that  the  fact 
does  not  in  the  slightest  degree  interfere  with  any  conclusions  that 
may  be  arrived  at  deductively  from  other  considerations,  that  at 
some  time  or  other  abiogenesis  must  have  taken  place."  Yet  strange 
to  say,  while  rejecting  the  materialistic  creed,  and  expressing  his 


MATERIALISM.  29 

ubhorrence  of  any  theory  that  teaches  that  mind  is  matter,  thought 
nothing  but  a  movement  of  matter,  and  the  soul  material, — all  his 
philosophical  and  psychological  enquiries  proceed  on  the  supposi- 
tion, that  such  propositions  are  true — that  life  and  thought  are  the 
product  of  a  certain  disposition  of  and  changes  in  material  molecules! 
And  finally.  Professor  Tyndall  admits  that  while  materialism  presents 
itself  as  an  intelligible  theory  of  the  universe,  IT  HAS  NEVER  YET 
SUCCEEDED  IN  EXPLAINING  A  SINGLE  FACT  in  the  world  of  con- 
sciousness. It  hopes  some  day  to  be  able  to  show  us  future 
Shakespeares,  "  potential  in  the  fires  of  the  sun,"  but  as  yet  cannot 
find  the  faintest  sensations  of  the  meanest  insect. 

While  we  think  there  can  be  no  dispute  in  any  candid  mind 
that  materialism  is  atheistic,  it  is  not  asserted  that  all  so-called 
Materialists  are  Atheists.  Some  admit  the  being  of  a  God,  to  whom 
they  refer  the  creation  of  the  world,  although  the  number  of  such 
illogical  materialists  is  small.  And  in  order  to  reconcile  their  views 
with  belief  in  the  Almighty,  they  substitute  the  Development 
theory,  or  Evolution,  which  in  recent  years  has  been  discussed  in 
the  "  Vestiges  of  the  Creation,"  and  the  voluminous  writings  of 
Charles  Darwin,  the  eminent  naturalist 

EVOLUTION. 

Wherein  this  theory  differs  from  materialism,  and  wherein  it 
equally  fails  to  satisfy  the  demands  of  science  and  religion,  is  worth)'- 
of  consideration.  It  does  not  do  away  with  the  necessity  of  a 
Creator.  The  method  of  his  working  is  simply  on  such  a  suppo- 
sition changed,  but  the  fact  of  his  existence  remains.  W^hence 
came  matter,  with  its  marvellous  adaptations  and  development? 
"  So  far  from  superseding  an  intelligent  agent,  the  Development 
theory  only  exalts  our  conceptions  of  the  ultimate  skill  and  power, 
that  could  comprehend  such  an  infinity  of  future  uses,  under  future 
systems,  in  the  original  groundwork  of  creation."     God  might  have 


30  FUTURE    rUNlSIlMENT. 

originated  the  species  b}-  a  law  of  development,  just  as  he  continues 
this  world  and  all  that  it  contains,  by  the  constancy  of  law.  The 
r.ccessity  of  a  first  great  cause  is  as  consistent  and  compatible  with 
the  one  scheme  as  the  other.  But  as  has  been  observed,  mere  belief 
in  the  existence  of  a  God,  without  belief  in  the  immortality  of  the 
soul  and  in  the  scheme  of  salvation  by  a  Mediator  and  Redeemer, 
is  of  as  little  ethical  value  as  a  belief  in  the  existence  of  the  great 
sea  serpent. 

Among  other  things,  so  far  as  we  can  gather  its  leading  prin- 
ciples from  its  numerous  advocates.  Evolution  holds  that  the  present 
course  of  nature  is  a  development  of  original  and  infinitely  early 
laws,  primarily  due  to  matter  :  the  nebulous  became  the  solid  :  the 
solid  distinguished  and  separated  :  the  inanimate  by  imperceptible 
degrees  became  anim.ate,  and  so  on  into  more  perfect  forms  and 
nobler  instincts.  All  the  forms  and  processes  of  nature  are  evolved 
from  the  operation  of  certain  laws,  inherent  in  nature  itself,  working 
in  the  way  of  gradual  progression  and  improvement,  each  class  or 
order  of  existing  creatures  containing  in  itcelf  aii  that  is  essential 
to  the  class  or  order  above  it.  The  primary  basis  of  vegetable  and 
animal  life  consists  of  a  globule  of  matter,  from  which  by  the  oper- 
ation of  chemical  causes,  a  generative  germ  is  produced.  This 
germ,  after  passing  through  a  formative  process,  gradually  assumes 
the  shape  of  a  plant.  This  plant  improves  in  structure,  and  gives 
birth  to  a  new  order  of  plants,  of  a  higher  and  better  type  than 
itself,  and  they  in  turn  repeat  the  same  process.  Thus  by  a  course 
of  transformation  and  development,  one  class  of  vegetable  produc- 
tions rises  above  another,  according  to  a  regularly  graduated  scale, 
until  at  last  we  reach  animated  nature.  From  the  point  of  junction 
of  vegetable  and  animal  life,  the  different  grades  of  living  creatures 
steadily  advance  in  structural  development,  each  grade  surpassing 
the  la.st  in  complexity  and  completeness  of  organization,  until  the 
crowning  work  is  reached  in  man,  in  whom  the  best  features  of  the 
whole  are  combined. 


MATERIALISM.  3i 

If  this  is  the  position  of  man  in  the  scale  of  creation,  it  makes 
him  the  legitimate  offspring  of  the  bestial  race,  by  a  line  of  ascend- 
ing gradation,  but  at  the  same  time  of  unbroken  succession  :  a  line 
which  leads  him  down  through  the  beast,  the  bird,  the  reptile,  the 
fish,  the  mollusc  and  the  worm,  until  he  finds  his  origin  in  a  chem- 
ical lump  of  matter.  As  a  materialist  expresses  it,  "the  chemic 
lump  arrives  at  the  plant,  and  grows  :  arrives  at  the  quadruped,  and 
walks  :  arrives  at  man,  and  thinks."  That  is,  the  chemic  lump,  by 
its  own  inherent  energies,  moves  on  towards  those  different  steps  of 
promotion.  It  is  the  same  lump  that  shapes  itself  into  the  goodly 
proportions  of  the  human  form,  and  there  seated  as  on  a  throne 
within  the  recesses  of  the  human  brain,  assumes  a  spiritual  character 
and  thinks." 

Such  a  theory,  it  would  seem,  needs  only  to  be  stated  to  carry 
with  it  its  own  refutation.  Its  baselessness  on  scientific  grounds, 
and  its  unreasonableness  or  absurdity  on  moral  grounds,  have  repeat- 
edly been  shown.  To  expose  all  the  fallacies  and  assumptions  that 
underlie  it,  is  beyond  the  immediate  purpose  of  this  volume,  and 
would  tax  unduly  the  patience  of  the  general  reader.  Suffice  it, 
that  we  present  the  following  condensed  summary  of  one  of  the 
earliest  replies  made  to  the  theory,  as  indicating  how  vulnerable  it 
is,  when  critically  examined.  The  late  Rev.  Walter  McGilvray,  D.D., 
in  his  treatise  entitled  "  The  Sadducees  of  Science,"  thus  writes  : 

"  To  make  such  a  theory  credible,  there  are  many  assertions 
and  assumptions  that  have  yet  to  be  proved.  Among  these  may 
be  mentioned  the  statement,  regarding  the  gradual  procession  of 
the  different  races  of  creatures,  from  each  other.  '  Like  produces 
like,'  has  hitherto  been  regarded  as  the  established  law  of  nature, 
nor  has  anything  yet  been  brought  forward  by  the  advocates  of 
"  Evolution  "  to  a  contrary  conclusion.  Not  a  single  example  has 
been  given  )f  the  operation  of  a  different  law.  Countless  myriads 
of  seeds  are  daily  germinating,  yet  it  has  never  been  found  that  the 


32  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

seed  borne  by  any  one  plant  has  produced  a  species  different  from 
its  parent.  Individual  varieties  of  the  same  species  may  be,  and 
have  been  frequently  propagated,  but  no  example  of  transmutation 
from  one  generic  class  to  another.  This  holds  true,  also,  of  the 
animal  kingdom.  Experiments  have  been  made  without  number 
to  effect  a  change  of  species,  but  without  success,  so  that  the  theor}' 
of  spontaneous  generation,  and  progressive  transition,  is  a  theory 
that  yet  remains  without  a  shadow  of  proof  Nor  does  the  likeness 
traced  between  the  physical  construction  of  the  human  race,  and 
that  of  the  inferior  creatures,  afford  any  foundation  for  the  theory 
of  Evolution.  Comparative  anatomy  proves  beyond  a  doubt,  that 
the  organic  productions  of  nature  all  proceed  upon  the  same  funda- 
mental plan,  but  this  resemblance  is  only  an  example  of  that  beau- 
tiful unity  of  design  which  pervades  the  w^ork  of  creation  :  which 
binds  its  various  points  together  into  one  connected  system,  bespeak- 
ing the  skill  of  a  Supreme  directing  Intelligence,  in  the  precise 
adjustment  of  its  complicated  elements,  and  their  harmonious  co- 
operation to  the  production  of  a  common  end.  Can  we  suppose, 
that  the  power  which  has  brought  into  existence  such  a  mass  of 
magnificent  materials,  and  built  them  up  into  a  fabric  so  symmetri- 
cal and  sublime  in  its  proportions  as  the  human  frame  itself,  is  a 
mere  property  of  matter,  the  simple,  natural  development  of  a 
chemic  lump — that  a  particle  of  dust  has  been  converted  into  the 
mind  of  a  Milton  and  the  heavenly  soul  of  a  Paul? 

"  But  even  supposing  that  there  is  a  physiological  connection 
between  the  lower  animals  and  man,  this  is  not  sufficient  evidence 
that  they  derive  their  different  measures  of  intelligence  from  the 
same  source.  That  mind  is  the  product  of  matter  is  the  assumption 
of  materialists,  and  the  more  complete  the  organisation,  the  greater 
the  sagacity  manifested.  The  brain,  they  say,  is  the  organ  of  the 
mind,  and  the  size  and  finish  of  this  organ  is  in  proportion  to  the 
structural  advancement  of  the  creatures,  and  determines  the  meas- 
ure of  intelligence  with  which  they  are  severally  endowed.     And 


MATEPvIALISM.  33 

yet  the  ant  and  the  "busy  bee,"  two  urimals  cown  near  ihe  vrj/ 
bottom  of  the  scale  of  organisation,  and  that  can  hardly  be  said  lo 
possess  a  particle  of  brain  at  all,  manifest  more  intelligence  in  their 
operations  than  any  other  class  of  the  lower  creatures  that  we  are 
acquainted  with  ;  and  the  beaver,  whose  brain  is  not  more  compli- 
cated than  the  sheep  (which  is  regarded  as  the  very  type  of  stupidity) 
shows  such  a  marvellous  degree  of  constructive  skill,  that  it  is  re- 
garded as  one  of  the  wonders  of  natural  history.  These  facts  show- 
how  little  dependence  is  to  be  placed  on  the  theory  of  evolution, 
which  so  utterly  breaks  down  at  so  many  important  points. 

"  Still  more  fatal  to  such  a  theory  is  the  fact,  that  the  capacities 
with  which  man  is  endowed  are  not  only  different  in  degree,  but 
different  in  their  nature  and  working  from  those  of  the  inferior 
creatures.  The  lower  animals  carry  on  their  operations  under  the 
controlling  power  of  a  fixed  and  inevitable  law.  Their  instincts 
work  perfectly  from  the  first,  and  uniformly  to  the  last.  They  are 
but  little,  if  anything,  indebted  to  experience  for  the  skill  they  dis- 
play. It  is  born  with  them,  and  they  begin  to  show  it  from  the 
moment  they  begin  to  move.  Neither  are  they  indebted  to  expe- 
rience for  any  alteration  or  improvement  in  the  exercise  of  their 
functions.  They  follow  the  same  mechanical  processes  of  action 
and  construction,  without  the  slightest  deviation  from  the  particular 
pattern  or  type,  according  to  which  they  carry  on  their  work.  This 
certainly  is  not  the  intelligence  of  man.  But  even  the  instinct  ot 
the  lower  animal  is  perfect  of  its  kind,  and  works  under  the  direc- 
tion and  control  of  a  higher  Power  than  itself — a  Power  that  fits  it 
for  its  own  particular  ends,  that  foresees  its  particular  wants,  and 
that  causes  it  to  fulfil  the  one  and  provide  for  the  other,  in  a  way 
that  can  never  be  accounted  for  by  the  laws  of  organisation,  or  the 
general  principles  of  Materialism. 

If,  then,  neither  the  instinct  of  the  brute,  nor  the  intelligence  of 
the  man,  proceed  from  any  combination  of  material  substances,  the 
falsity  of  evolution  and  the  truth  of  scripture  is  established  beyond 


34  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

cavil.  Man,  as  to  his  ph)-sical  form,  was  the  crowning  act  of  tlic 
material  universe,  while  in  respect  to  the  spirit  that  was  in  him,  he 
was  made  in  the  likeness  of  God.  Intellectual  and  moral  qualities 
were  conferred  upon  him,  which  raised  him  entirely  out  of  the  rank 
of  the  inferior  creatures,  connecting  him  immediately  with  the  spir- 
itual world,  and  giving  him  a  name  and  a  place  but  '  a  little  lower 
than  the  angels.'  He  was  far  more  in  reality  than  the  Poet  imagines, 
when  he  declares  him  to  be — '  half  dust,  half  divinity.'  His  dust 
was  not  common  dust,  but  dust  so  fearfully  compounded,  and  so 
wonderfully  organised,  that  it  represented  all  the  constituent  ele- 
ments of  the  world  which  he  inhabited,  and  all  the  constructive 
principles  that  were  spread  over  the  innumerable  kingdoms  of  liv- 
ing nature  ;  so  that,  while  he  had  a  part  with  God,  the  meanest 
worm  that  crawls  upon  the  ground  had  a  part  in  him." 

The  materialism  of  the  present  day  is  very  different  from  what 
went  under  the  same  name  in  the  days  of  such  philosophers  as 
DesCartes.  They  never  went  about  to  build  up  a  world  out  of 
mere  passive  bulk  and  sluggish  matter,  without  the  guidance  of  a 
higher  principle.  They  concluded  it  the  greatest  impudence  or 
madness,  to  assert  that  living  animals  were  the  sole  product  of 
matter.  Their  system  recognized  an  incorporeal  substance,  of 
which  God  was  the  head.  That  thought  was  the  result  of  matter 
they  regarded  as  the  prodigious  paradox  of  Atheists.  They 
acknowledged  the  necessity  of  Divine  organization  and  preserva- 
tion— the  existence  and  agency  of  a  spiritual  principle  distinct 
from  matter  and  motion.  Newton  denied  that  matter  possessed 
any  inherent  capacity  of  action.  He  ascribed  the  formation  to  the 
act  of  God,  and  everywhere  in  his  writings  recognized  the  neces- 
sity of  a  Divine  Being,  as  the  original  cause  and  continued  sup- 
porter of  all  things  as  they  are.  Nothing  was  independent  of  the 
will  and  action  of  God.  His  philosophical  creed,  in  substance  as 
follows,  strongly  contrasts  with  the  materialism  of  our  day  :  "  This 
admirably  beautiful  structure  of  sun,  planets,  and  comets,  could  not 


MATERIALISM.  35 

have  originated  except  in  the  wisdom  and  sovereignty  of  an  intel- 
ligent and  powerful  Being.  He  rules  all  things,  not  as  the  soul  of 
the  world,  but  as  the  Lord  of  all.  He  is  eternal  and  infinite,  omni- 
potent and  omniscient  ;  that  is.  His  duration  is  from  eternity  to 
eternity,  and  His  presence  from  infinity  to  infinity.  He  governs 
all  things,  and  has  knowledge  of  all  things  that  are  done  or  can  be 
done.  He  is  not  eternity  and  infinity,  but  eternal  and  infinite.  He 
is  not  duration  and  space,  but  He  is  ever,  and  is  present  everywhere. 
We  know  Him  only  by  means  of  his  properties  and  attributes,  and 
by  means  of  the  supremely  wise  and  infinite  constructions  of  the 
world,  and  their  final  causes  :  we  admire  Him  for  His  perfection  ; 
we  venerate  and  worship  Him  for  His  sovereignty.  For  we  worship 
Him  as  His  servants  ;  and  a  God  without  sovereignty,  providence, 
and  final  causes  is  nothing  else  than  fate  and  nature.  From  a  blind 
metaphysical  necessity  which,  of  course,  is  the  same  always  and 
everywhere,  no  variety  could  originate.  The  whole  diversity  of 
created  things  in  regard  to  places  and  times  could  have  its  origin 
only  in  the  ideas  and  the  will  of  a  necessarily  existing  Being." 

Sir  David  Brewster,  also,  in  later  days,  while  admitting  that 
gravitation  might  put  the  planets  in  motion,  maintained  that  without 
the  Divine  power  it  could  never  give  them  such  a  circulating  motion 
as  they  have  about  the  sun,  and  hence  he  was  compelled  to  ascribe 
the  frame  of  the  solar  system  to  an  intelligent  agent.  Young,  the 
Christian  poet,  expresses  this  same  idea  when  he  says  : 

"  But  miracles  apart,  who  sees  Him  not — 

Nature's  controller,  author,  guide  and  end  ! 

Who  turns  his  eye  on  nature's  midnight  face. 

But  must  inquire  what  hand  behind  the  scene, 

What  arm  Almighty  put  these  wheeling  globes 

In  motion,  and  wound  up  the  vast  machine  ? 

Who  rounded  in  his  hand  these  spacious  orbs — 

Who  bowled  them  flaming  through  the  dark  profound, 

Numerous  as  glittering  gems  of  morning  dew. 

Or  sparks  from  populous  cities  in  a  blaze  : 

And  set  the  bosom  of  old  night  on  fire, 

Peopled  her  desert,  and  made  horror  smile  ?" 


36  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

In  view  of  tin's  brief  discussion,  \vc  arc  now  in  a  position  to 
answer  the  question  :  By  what  power  was  the  human  race  begun 
on  earth  ?  There  are  but  two  explanations— either  the  first  verse 
of  the  Bible,  which  says  :  "  In  the  beginning-  God  created  the 
heaven  and  the  earth,"  is  true,  or  it  is  false.  The  soul  is  either  the 
result  of  the  innate  labor  of  the  natural  forces  of  matter,  or  it  is 
the  work  of  a  supernatural  power.  There  is  no  middle  ground 
between  spontaneous  generation  and  creation.  The  material  sub- 
stances of  the  body  may  be  necessary  to  life,  but  they  do  not  con- 
stitute or  produce  life.  Existence  and  thought  cannot  be  a  product 
of  matter.  The  soul  protests  against  such  an  origin,  and  the  denial 
of  immortality  which  it  includes  : 

"  To  lie  in  cold  abstraction,  and  to  rot, 
This  sensible  warm  motion  to  become 
A  kneaded  clod," 

is  hostile  to  man's  better  instincts.     He  can  never  believe  that  his 

spirit  has  been  developed  by  the  brain,  and  that  with  the  brain 

must  be  dissolved.     Life  can  only  come  from  life. 

In  thus  opposing  Materialism  and  evolution  as  unscriptural  and 
unreasonable,  we  make  no  charge  against  the  morality  and  integ- 
rity of  many  leading  scientists,  who  in  studying  the  mysteries  of 
nature,  are  led  to  conclusions,  which  in  the  opinion  of  all  christian 
men  and  women,  undermine  the  foundations  of  faith  in  a  Divine 
Being.  Somewhat  restive  under  such  charges,  Professor  Tyndall 
says  : — 

"  It  may  comfort  some  to  know  that  there  are  amongst  us  many 
whom  the  gladiators  of  the  pulpit  would  call  Atheists  and  Material- 
ists, whose  lives,  nevertheless,  as  tested  by  an  accessible  standard  of 
morality,  would  contrast  more  than  favorably  with  the  lives  of  those 
who  seek  to  stamp  them  with  this  offensive  brand.  When  I  say 
'  offensive '  I  refer  simply  to  the  intention  of  those  who  use  such 
terms,  and  not  because  Atheism  or  Materialism,  when  compared 
with   many  of  the  notions  ventilated   in  the  columns  of  religious 


MATERIALISM^  37 

newspapers,  have  any  particular  offensiveness  to  me.  If  I  wished  to 
find  men  who  are  scrupulous  in  their  adherence  to  engagements, 
whose  words  are  their  bond,  and  to  whom  moral  shiftiness  of  any 
kind  is  subjectively  unknown  ;  if  I  wanted  a  loving  father,  a  faith- 
ful husband,  an  honorable  neighbor,  and  a  just  citizen,  I  would  seek 
him  among  the  band  of  Atheists  to  which  I  refer.  I  have  known 
some  of  the  most  pronounced  amongst  them,  not  only  in  life,  but 
in  death — seen  them  approach  with  open  eyes  the  inexorable  goal, 
with  no  dread  of  a  'hangman's  whip,'  with  no  hope  of  a  heavenly 
crown,  and  still  as  mindful  of  their  duties,  and  as  faithful  in  the 
discharge  of  them,  as  if  their  eternal  future  depended  on  their  latest 
deeds." 

This  may  be  all  true,  still  the  fact  remains  that  without  belief  in 
a  Divine  Being,  men  have  little  incentive  to  holy  living.  Accord- 
ing to  a  man's  creed  is  his  practice.  Materialism  furnishes  no 
grounds  for  noble  endeavor  after  a  blameless  life,  for  it  takes  away 
all  hope  of  immortality  beyond.  Its  aim  is  to  exterminate  God 
from  the  universe.  An  old  legend  represents  a  king  shooting  an 
arrow  heavenward,  and  mistaking  the  blood  that  came  from  a  bird 
accidentally  wounded,  for  that  of  the  Deity.  Such  is  the  aim  of 
those  who  substitute  Materialism  for  creative  power . 

"Once,  in  long  perished  ages,  a  vain  king 

Shot  toward  heaven  an  arrow  plumed  and  broad  ; 
It  fell  to  earth  blood-tinged  in  shaft  and  wing. 

''  Behold  "  (quoth  he),  "  my  power  has  slaughtered  God  !" 
What  atheist-archers  heavenward  launch,  to-day, 

Their  arrowy  malice,  while,  with  mocking  nods 
And  scornful  smiles,  these  bold  blasphemers  say, 

"  Vour  God  is  slain  !     Behold,  we  now  are  gods  1" 


NOTES 

ON 

MATERIALISM 


NOTES  ON  MATERIALISM. 


OR  such  of  our  readers  as  may  wish  to  prosecute  this 
subject  further,  we  append  a  few  extracts  from  well 
known  Scientists  and  Theologians,  in  confirmation  of 
the  opinions  advanced  in  the  previous  pages  : 

"  There  is  not  an  existing  stratum  in  the  body 
of  the  earth,  which  geology  has  laid  bare,  which  cannot  be 
traced  back  to  a  time  when  it  was  not  ;  and  there  is  not  an  exist- 
ing species  of  plants  or  animals  which  cannot  be  referred  to  a  time 
when  it  had  no  place  in  the  world.  Their  beginnings  are  discov- 
erable, in  succeeding  cycles  of  time.  It  can  be  demonstrated  that 
man  also  had  a  beginning,  and  all  the  species  contemporary  with 
him,  and  that  therefore,  the  present  state  of  the  organised  world 
has  not  been  sustained  from  eternity." — PROFESSOR  Lyell,  (the 
well-known  Geologist.) 

"  If  a  material  element,  or  a  combination  ot  a  thousand  material 
elements  in  an  atom  of  matter,  are  alike  unconscious,  it  is  impossible 
for  us  to  believe  that  the  mere  addition  of  one,  two,  or  a  thousand 
other  material  elements  to  form  a  more  complex  atom,  could  in  any 
way  tend  to  produce  a  self-conscious  existence.  To  say  that  mind 
is  a  product  or  function  of  matter,  or  of  its  changes,  is  to  use  words 


42  FUTURK    PUNISHMENT. 

to  which  wc  can  attach  no  clear  conception.  You  cannot  have  in 
the  whole,  what  does  not  exist  in  any  of  the  parts.  EITHER  ALL 
MATTER  IS  CONSCIOUS,  OR  CONSCIOUSNESS  IS.  SOMETHING  DIS- 
TINCT FROM  MATTER  :  and  in  the  latter  case,  its  presence  in  mate- 
rial forms  is  a  proof  of  the  existence  of  conscious  beings,  outside  of 
and  independent  of  what  we  term  matter." — ALFRED  RusSELL 
Wallace,  (friend  and  associate  of  Darwin.) 

"  The  body  is  but  the  machine  we  employ,  which  furnished  with 
power  and  all  the  appliances  for  its  use,  enables  us  to  execute  the 
intentions  of  our  intelligence,  to  gratify  our  moral  natures,  and  to 
commune  with  our  fellow  beings.  This  view  of  the  nature  of  the 
body  is  the  farthest  removed  from  materialism  :  it  requires  a  sep- 
arate thinking  principle.  A  locomotive  may  be  equipped  with 
steam,  water  and  fuel  ;  in  short,  with  the  potential  energy  necessar\- 
to  the  exhibition  of  immense  mechanical  power,  but  the  whole 
remains  in  a  state  of  dynamic  equilibrium,  without  motion  or  signs 
of  life  or  intelligence.  Let  the  engineer  now  open  a  valve,  which  is 
so  poised  as  to  move  with  the  slightest  touch,  and  almost  without  a 
volition  to  let  on  the  power  to  the  piston, — the  machine  then  awakes 
as  it  were  into  life.  It  rushes  forward  with  tremendous  power  :  it 
stops  instantly,  and  returns  again  at  the  command  of  the  master  of 
the  train  ;  in  short,  it  exhibits  signs  of  life  and  intelligence.  Its 
power  is  now  controlled  by  mind  ;  it  has,  as  it  were,  a  soul  within 
it.  The  intellect  which  controls  the  engine  is  not  in  it,  nor  is  it 
affected  by  its  changes.  And  in  the  body,  as  well  as  in  the  engine, 
THE  CONTROLLING  INTELLECT  IS  EQUALLY  DISTINCT  FROM  THE 
PHYSICAL  FORCE,  which  both  SO  wonderfully  exhibit." — PROFESSOR 
Joseph  Henry  Smith,  (Smithsonian   Institute,  Washington.) 

"The  advocates  of  Materialism  say  that  the  world  made  itself,  and 
that  mind  is  but  a  development  of  matter.  According  to  this  theory 
matter  is  eternal,  and  the  statement  contained  in  the  first  verse  of 
the  Bible — '  in  the  beginning  God  made  the  heavens  and  the  earth ' 
— is  false.     'The  world   never  had  a  beginning  nor  a  creator.'     In 


NOTES   ON    MATERIALISM.  43 

support  of  this  theory  the  sayings  of  scientific  men  are  quoted,  who 
affirm  '  that  matter  is  naturally  indestructible  by  any  human  power. 
You  may  boil  water  into  steam,  but  it  is  all  there  in  the  steam  ;  or 
burn  coal  into  gas,  ashes  and  tar,  but  it  is  all  in  the  gas,  ashes  and 
tar  :  you  may  change  the  outward  form  as  much  as  you  please,  but 
you  cannot  destroy  the  substance  of  anything.'  Therefore  it  is 
argued,  as  matter  is  indestructible,  it  must  also  be  eternal. 

"  In  reply  to  such  assumptions,  we  deny  that  there  is  any  gen- 
eral agreement  among  scientists  and  philosophers  as  to  the  indes- 
tructibility of  matter,  for  the  very  good  reason,  that  few  of  them 
pretend  to  say  what  matter  in  its  own  nature  is.  All  that  they 
assert  is,  '  that  matter  is  indestructible  by  any  operation  to  which 
it  can  be  subjected  in  the  ordinary  course  of  circumstances,  observed 
at  the  surface  of  the  globe.'  That  is,  '  human  power  cannot  destroy 
matter  :'  and  if  so,  it  is  just  as  reasonable  to  say,  '  HUMAN  POWER 
DID  NOT  CREATE  IT.'  But  to  say  that  matter  is  eternal,  because 
man  cannot  destroy  it,  is  as  foolish  as  if  a  child  should  try  to  beat 
the  cylinder  of  a  steam  engine  to  pieces,  and  failing  in  the  attempt 
should  say,  '  I  am  sure  this  cylinder  existed  from  all  eternity, 
because  I  am  unable  to  destroy  it.'  But  even  if  matter  were  eternal, 
it  does  not  account  for  the  formation  of  the  world,  and  the  creation 
of  man.  What  we  call  matter,  is  not  one,  but  a  vast  number  of 
material  substances  in  combination.  How  did  they  come  together 
in  their  different  shapes,  in  clouds,  atmosphere,  rocks  and  rivers  ? 
In  what  way  did  the  fifty-seven  primary  elements  of  matter  resolve 
themselves  into  the  present  glorious  and  beautiful  world,  with  its 
variety  of  flowers  and  trees,  and  birds  and  beasts  and  fishes  ?  If, 
as  is  generally  believed,  every  home  must  have  a  builder,  and  every 
machine  a  maker,  can  we  accept  the  teachings  of  materialism,  that 
this  universe,  which  is  the  greatest  of  all  compounds,  is  eternal,  and 
the  result  of  chance  combinations  of  matter  ? 

"In  order  to  meet  this  objection,  the  materialist  refers  (a)  to  the 
law  of  gravitation,  which  extends-  through  space,  and  which  has,  he 


44  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

alleges,  operated  eternally  ;  b}'  which  the  sej^arate  parts  of  our  earth 
have  been  drawn  together,  and  under  whose  influence  the  orbs  of 
heaven  steadily  and  harmoniously  revolve.  But  the  law  of  gravi- 
tation presupposes  intelligence  in  its  beginning  and  continuance, 
for  without  some  power  of  resistance  to  the  law  of  gravitation,  all 
things  in  the  universe  would  be  drawn  steadily  towards  the  centre 
of  gravity.  The  centripetal  and  centrifugal  forces,  that  keep  the 
motions  of  the  planetary  world  adjusted,  are  evidence  of  design,  and 
of  a  power  that  is  not  in  matter,  (b)  Nor  does  the  theory  of  the  fire 
mist,  which  the  materialist  says  has  existed  from  all  eternity,  and 
from  which,  under  certain  conditions,  this  earth  and  all  living  crea- 
tures has  sprung,  remove  the  difficulty.  Millions  of  years  ago,  says 
the  materialist,  the  world  existed  '  as  a  vast  cloud  of  fire,'  which  after 
a  long  time  cooled  down  into  granite,  and  the  granite  by  dint  of 
earthquakes,  got  broken  up  on  the  surface,  and  washed  with  rain 
into  clay  and  soil,  whence  plants  sprang  up  of  their  own  accord,  and 
the  plants  gradually  grew  into  various  animals,  and  some  of  the 
animals  grew  into  monkeys,  and  finally  the  monkeys  into  men.* 
This  is  what  is  now  known  as  EVOLUTION,  OR  THE  DEVELOPMENT 
Theory, — in  itself,  not  necessarily  Atheistic,  but  in  its  tendency 
and  logical  results  decidedly  so.  Whether  it  is  easier  to  believe 
that  matter  is  eternal,  or  that  nothing  evolved  something  outside 
of  itself,  by  some  unknown  law  of  nature,  and  that  man  with  all 
his  powers  of  reason,  is  but  matter,  destitute  of  immortality,  or  that 
the  words  of  inspiration — '  and  God  said.  Let  us  make  man  in  our 
image,  after  our  likeness,' — are  true,  may  confidently  be  left  to  the 
judgment  of  every  candid  mind.  If  man  is  simpl}'  a  material  organ- 
ism, then  the  doctrine  of  a  future  existence  is  false,  and  conscious- 
ness terminates  at  death." — Rev.  R.  PATTERSON,  D,  D.,  (author  o^ 
"Fables  of  Infidelity.") 

"Materialism  teaches — i.  That  from  matter  can  be  deduced  all 
the  powers  and  forces  of  nature,  such  as  magnetism,  light,  gravit)-, 
or  that  matter  eventuates  in  these  forces. 


NOTES   ON    MATERIALISM.  45 

"  2.  That  the  principle  of  life  is  also  a  modification  of  matter. 

"  3.  That  the  soul,  with  all  its  faculties,  is  a  product  of  matter, 
as  also  all  that  the  soul  produces. 

"  4.  That  all  knowledge,  all  truth,  all  ideas,  are  simple  inductions 
from  material  facts  and  phenomena,  and  all  knowledge  a  modifi- 
cation of  sensation. 

"  5.  That  the  material  world  has  the  ground  and  end  of  its 
existence  in  itself — that  there  is  no  power  above  it,  producing  it, 
and  no  end  for  which  it  was  made — and  that  irrational  power  is 
sufficient  to  produce  all  there  is  in  the  world. 

"  6.  That  the  moral  law  is  nothing  more  than  a  modification  of 
the  sequence  of  phenomena,  and  not  a  binding  law  given  from 
above. 

"  7.  That  God  is  merely  a  name  for  matter,  and  that  there  is 
really  no  God. 

"  Materialism  cannot  establish  these  propositions.  It 
cannot  explain  the  phenomena  of  life,  neither  the  animal  organism, 
nor  the  life  which  results  from  it.  It  cannot  explain  an  organic 
body — not  even  the  humblest  plant.  One  life  runs  through  all  its 
parts.  There  is  something  more  in  it  than  atoms  and  general  forces 
of  nature.  It  cannot  prove  the  soul  to  be  a  modification  of  matter. 
If  the  soul  is  material,  it  is  the  brain  acting.  But  the  brain  is  an 
aggregate  of  organs,  to  which  strict  unity  does  not  belong.  But 
strict  unity  does  belong  to  the  soul,  as  is  seen  in  the  consciousness 
of  personal  identity.  Hence  the  soul  cannot  be  derived  from  the 
brain.  Thought  and  feeling  cannot  be  explained  as  secretions  of 
the  brain,  or  as  products  of  it,  in  any  way.  Still  less  can  will  or 
choice  be  derived  from  brain  ;  for  in  choice  we  are  conscious  of 
powers  above  the  material  world.  If  there  be  any  final  or  efficient 
causes,  materialism  cannot  be  true.  A  final  cause  supposes  a  wise 
author  of  the  world.  An  efficient  cause  supposes  a  power  above 
that  which  it  produces.  Organisation  shows  final  cause,  and  the 
efficient  cause  is  necessary  to  satisfy  the  reason.     If  there  be  any 


46  futurl;  punisiimlnt. 

absolute  riglit,  materialism  cannot  be  true.  Any  law  of  duty  is 
quite  inconsistent  with  materialism.  Materialism  must  den}'  any 
ultimate  cause  or  end  of  the  universe,  out  of  itself  If  the  universe 
indicates  a  source  lying  behind  it,  and  a  goal  before  it,  materialism 
is  a  failure." — REV.  Henry  B.  Smith,  D.  D.,  (Union  Seminary, 
New  York.) 

"  As  materialism,  in  its  modern  form,  in  all  that  is  essential  to 
the  theory,  is  the  same  that  it  was  a  thousand  years  ago  the  old 
arguments  against  it  are  as  available  now  as  they  ever  were.  Its 
fundamental  affirmation  is,  that  all  the  phenomena  of  the  universe, 
physical,  vital,  mental,  are  to  be  referred  to  unintelligent  physical 
forces  ;  and  its  fundamental  negation  is,  that  there  is  no  such  thing 
as  mind  or  spirit,  apart  from  matter.  There  are  two  methods  of 
combatting-  any  such  theory.  The  one  is  the  scientific,  which  calls 
in  question  the  accuracy  of  the  completeness  of  the  data  on  which 
it  is  founded,  or  the  validity  of  the  inferences  adduced  from  them. 
The  other  is  the  shorter  and  easier  method,  of  the  reductio  ad 
absurdum.  The  latter  is  just  as  legitimate  and  valid  as  the  former. 
The  facts  on  which  Materialists  insist  may,  for  the  most  part  at 
least,  be  acknowledged  ;  while  the  sweeping  inferences  which  they 
draw  from  them,  in  the  eye  of  reason  may  not  be  worth  a  straw. 
All  such  inferences  must  be  rejected  whenever  they  conflict  with 
any  well  established  truth,  whether  of  intuition,  experience,  or  of 
divine  revelation  : 

"  I.  Materialism  contradicts  the  Facts  of  Consciousness.  The 
knowledge  of  self  must  be  assumed.  Unless  we  ARE  we  cannot 
know.  This  knowledge  of  self  is  a  knowledge  that  we  are  some- 
thing :  a  real  existence,  not  merely  a  state  or  mode  of  something 
else.  It  is  not  only  knowledge  that  we  are  a  substance,  but  that 
we  are  individual  substances,  which  think,  feel,  and  will.  This  im- 
plies mind — an  individual,  intelligent,  and  voluntary  agent.  The 
body  is  not  the  man.  It  is  intimately  and  even  vitally  united  to 
the  real  self:  it  is  simply  the   organ  which  the  soul  uses,  in  com- 


NOTES   ON    MATERIALISM.  4/ 

munion  with  the  external  world.  The  Materialist  cannot  think  or 
speak  or  write,  without  assuming  the  existence  of  mind,  as  distinct 
from  matter,  any  more  than  the  Idealist  can  live  and  act,  without 
assuming-  the  existence  of  the  eternal  world, 

"  2.  Materialism  denies  the  fact  of  free  agency.  Consciousness 
attests  that  men  have  the  power  of  self-determination.  Every  man 
knows  this  to  be  true  as  regards  himself  and  his  fellow  men.  This 
conviction  no  obduracy  of  conscience,  and  no  sophistry  of  argument, 
can  permanently  obliterate  from  the  human  mind.  But  materialism 
denies  free  agency,  and  refers  all  mental  action  to  physical  forces. 

"  3.  Materialism  contradicts  the  facts  of  our  moral  and  reli- 
gious consciousness.  No  man  can  free  himself  from  a  sense  of 
accountability.  These  moral  convictions  necessitate  belief  in  a  God, 
to  whom  we  must  give  account.  But  Materialism,  in  banishing  all 
mind  in  man,  leaves  nothing  to  be  accountable  ;  and  in  banishing 
all  minrl  from  the  universe,  leaves  no  being  to  whom  an  account  can 
be  rendered.  To  substitute  for  an  intelligent,  extra-mundane,  per- 
sonal God,  mere  matter  (or  '  inscrutable  force,')  is  a  mockery  and 
an  insult.  It  cannot  be  true,  unless  our  whole  nature  be  a  lie.  To 
call  upon  men  to  worship  gravitation,  and  sing  hallelujahs  to  the 
whirlwind,  is  to  call  upon  them  to  derationalize  themselves.  The 
attempt  is  as  idle,  as  it  is  foolish  and  wicked. 

"  The  fact  is,  that  if  \/e  have  no  trustworthy  evidence  of  the  exist- 
ence of  mind,  we  have  no  valid  evidence  of  the  existence  of  matter  ; 
and  there  is  no  universe,  no  God.  All  is  nothing.  Happily  men 
cannot  emancipate  themselves  from  the  laws  of  their  nature.  They 
cannot  help  believing  the  testimony  of  consciousness  as  to  their 
personal  identity,  and  as  to  the  existence  of  the  soul,  as  the  source 
of  their  thoughts,  feelings  and  volitions.  As  no  man  can  refuse  to 
believe  that  he  has  a  body,  so  no  man  can  refuse  to  believe  that  he 
has  a  soul,  and  that  the  two  are  radically  distinct." — REV.  ClIARLES 
Hodge,  D.  D.,  (Princeton  Seminary,  N.  J.) 


48  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT, 

"  I  have  never  thought  that  any  true  theory  of  development  or 
of  growth  was  in  the  least  degree  inconsistent  with  divine  purpose 
and  design.  But  this  must  be  development  properly  understood, 
and  with  all  its  facts  clearly  ascertained.  Aty  own  strong  impres- 
sion is,  that  there  are  many  scientific  men  in  the  world  who  are  a 
great  deal  more  '  Darwinian.'  than  Darwin  himself  is.  I  have  seen 
some  letters  published  in  scientific  journals,  in  which  it  is  quite 
obvious  that  the  writer  rejoiced  in  Darwin,  simply  becanse  he 
thought  that  Darwin  had  dispensed  with  God,  and  had  discovered 
some  process  entirely  independent  of  design,  which  eliminated 
altogether  the  idea  of  a  personal  Creator  from  the  universe.  Now, 
it  so  happened  that  I  had  some  means  of  knowing,  that  that  was 
not  the  attitude  of  Mr.  Darwin's  own  mind.  In  the  last  year  of  his 
life,  Mr.  Darwin  did  me  the  honor  of  calling  upon  me  at  my  house 
in  London,  and  I  then  had  a  long  and  very  interesting  conversation 
with  that  distinguished  observer  of  nature.  Mr.  Darwin  was  above 
all  things  an  observer.  He  did  not  profess  to  be  a  theologian,  or  a 
metaphysician.  It  was  his  work  in  the  world  to  record  facts,  as  far 
as  he  could  see  them,  faithfully  and  honestly,  and  to  connect  them 
with  theories  and  hypotheses,  which  were  constructed  at  all  events 
for  a  temporary  convenience,  (as  all  hypotheses  in  science  must  be,) 
before  proof  came.  In  the  course  of  that  conversation,  I  said  to 
Mr.  Darwin,  in  reference  to  some  of  his  remarkable  works  on  the 
fertilisation  of  orchids,  upon  earth  worms,  and  various  other  obser- 
vations he  had  made  of  the  wonderful  contrivances  for  certain  pur- 
poses in  nature,  that  it  was  impossible  to  look  at  these,  without 
seeing  that  they  were  the  effect  and  the  expression  of  mind.  I  can 
never  forget  Mr.  Darwin's  answer.  Mr.  Darwin  looked  at  me  very 
hard,  and  said  :  '  Well,  it  often  comes  over  me  with  overpowering 
force,  but  at  other  times' — and  he  shook  his  head  vaguely — '  it 
seems  to  go.'" — TiiE  DuKE  OF  Argyle. 

"  The  so-called  literary  and  scientific  classes  in  England,  now 
proudly  give  themselves  up  to  Materialism.,  Origin  of  the  Species, 


NOTES   ON    MATERIALISM.  49 

and  the  like,  to  prove  that  God  did  not  build  the  universe.  I  have 
known  three  generations  of  the  Darwins — grandfather,  father  and 
son — Atheists  all.  The  brother  of  the  present  famous  naturalist,  a 
quiet  man,  told  me  that  among  his  grandfather's  effects  he  found  a 
seal,  engraven  with  this  legend,  "  Omnia  ex  conchis" — everything 
FROM  A  CLAM  SHELL  !  I  saw  the  naturalist  not  many  months  ago  : 
told  him  I  had  read  his  *  Origin  of  Species,'  and  other  books  :  that 
he  had  by  no  means  satisfied  me  that  men  were  descended  from 
monkeys,  but  had  gone  far  towards  persuading  me  that  he  and  his 
so-called  scientific  brethren,  had  brought  the  present  generation  of 
Englishmen  very  near  to  monkeys.  Ah  !  it  is  a  sad  and  terrible 
thing,  to  see  nigh  a  whole  generation  of  men  and  women,  professing 
to  be  cultivated,  looking  around  in  a  purblind  fashion,  and  finding 
no  God  in  the  universe.  The  older  I  grow — and  I  now  stand  upon 
the  brink  of  eternity — the  more  comes  back  to  me  the  sentence  in 
the  catechism  which  I  learned  when  a  child,  and  the  fuller  and 
deeper  its  meaning  becomes  :  '  What  is  the  chief  end  of  man  ?' 
'To  glorify  God  and  to  enjoy  Him  forever.'  No  gospel  teaching, 
that  men  have  descended  from  frogs  through  monkeys,  can  ever 
set  that  aside." — Thomas  Carlyle. 

"  There  is  certainly  evolution,  that  is,  one  thing  coming  out  of 
another,  in  our  world,  especially  in  what  we  are  here  concerned  with 
— the  operations  of  physical  nature.  I  know  no  scientific  naturalist, 
under  thirty  years  of  age,  in  any  country  of  the  world,  who  does  not 
believe  that  there  is  such  a  process.  It  is  highly  inexpedient  in 
religious  people  to  set  themselves  against  it  ;  they  will  thereby 
only  injure  among  young  men  the  cause  which  they  mean  to  benefit. 
Evolution  is  involved  in  the  very  nature  of  the  causation  acting  in 
the  whole  physical  world.  Our  physical  world  consists  of  an  in- 
numerably large  number  of  bodies  created  by  God,  and  endowed 
by  Him  with  specific  properties.  The  bodies  act  upon  each  other 
according  to  their  properties.  All  educated  people  do  now  acknow- 
ledge, that  these  mundane  actions  proceed  according  to  the  principle 


50  FUTURE   rUNISII.Mi:XT. 

of  cause  and  effect.  If  this  be  so,  there  must  be  cvohition.  All  tlie 
operations  of  nature  are  regulated  by  law.  By  the  collocation  of 
the  causal  agencies,  orderly  results  are  produced,  or  we  may  say 
developed,  and  these  may  also  be  called  laws.  The  development 
is  espcciall)'  seen  in  the  organic  kingdoms.  All  plants  and  animals 
proceed  from  a  seed  or  germ.  Now  in  all  this  there  is  evolution,  of 
which,  therefore,  every  one  has  experience  in  his  own  person,  and 
notices  all  around  him  in  every  department  of  nature,  but  especially 
in  those  living  beings  he  is  so  closely  connected  with, 

"  There  is  a  general  progression.  According  to  the  theory  of 
Laplace,  commonly  adopted  by  scientific  men,  the  earth  was  at  one 
time  in  a  state  of  vapor,  v/hich  as  it  rotated,  became  condensed  into 
successive  planets,  and  finally  into  a  central  sun.  All  this  is  con- 
sistent with  scripture,  which  represents  the  world  as  without  form 
and  void,  at  first,  and  ^then  of  a  specific  form,  and  plenished  with 
living  beings.  In  all  this  there  is  nothing  Atheistic,  nothing  irre- 
ligious in  any  way.  It  leaves  every  argument  for  the  divine  exist- 
ence and  the  divine  benevolence  where  it  was  before,  only  adding 
new  examples  of  order  and  design.  As  the  law  of  gravitation  binds 
the  whole  of  contemporaneous  nature  in  one  grand  sphere,  so  the 
law  of  development  makes  all  successive  nature  flow  in  one  grand 
stream,  bearing  the  riches  of  all  past  ages  into  the  future,  possibly 
to  the  end  of  time.  There  is  development  in  scripture.  God  crea- 
ted plants  and  animals  at  first,  and  gave  them  endowments  by 
which  they  continue  their  kind  throughout  the  ages.  In  the  first 
chapter  of  Genesis  such  passages  as  these  occur  and  re-occur  :  "And 
the  earth  brought  forth  grass,  and  herb  )-ielding  seed  after  his  kind, 
and  the  tree  yielding  fruit  whose  seed  was  in  itself  after  his  kind, 
and  God  saw  that  it  was  good."  In  all  this  there  is  evolution. 
There  is  also  development  and  growth  in  the  whole  dispensation  of 
grace  enfolded  in  scripture.  Looking  to  these  things,  the  defenders 
of  religion  should  be  cautious  and  discriminating  in  their  attacks 
on  evolution  ;  and  when  they  assail  it  they  should  always  explain 


NOTES   ON    iMATERIALISM.  5 1 

what  it  is  that  they  are  opposing-.  I  regard  the  things  evolved  as 
not  the  less  the  work  of  God,  because  they  have  been  evolved  in  an 
orderly  and  beneficent  manner  from  other  works  of  God. 

"  But  evolution,  like  every  other  operation  of  God,  has  been 
turned  to  evil  purposes.  It  has  been  used  to  expel  God  from  His 
works,  and  to  degrade  man  to  the  rank  of  an  upper  brute.  So  I 
now  turn  to  the  question — "  Is  the  Darwinian  theory  of  evolution 
reconcilable  with  the  Bible  ?"  While  holding  by  evolution,  which 
I  see  everywhere  in  nature,  I  do  not  therefore  concur  in  all  the 
theories  that  have  been  formed  on  the  subject,  or  approve  of  the 
uses  to  which  it  has  been  turned  by  such  men  as  Huxley,  Spencer 
and  Haeckel  ;  on  the  contrary,  I  regard  it  as  of  vast  importance  to 
rescue  a  natural,  and  therefore  a  divinely  ordained  process,  from 
the  abuse  which  has  been  made  of  it  by  carrying  it  too  far,  and  by 
a  wrong  interpretation  of  it  by  men  who  have  not  been  made  infidels 
by  evolution,  but  have  illegitimately  used  evolution  to  support  their 
a-ifidelity. 

"Darwin  is  an  eminent  naturalist.  He  maybe  trusted  in  his 
statement  of  facts.  But,  while  a  careful  observer,  I  do  not  regard 
him  as  a  great  philosopher  ;  and  he  was  not  trained  in  early  life, 
or  in  any  college  course,  to  observe  the  facts  of  the  mental  and 
spiritual  world,  quite  as  certain  and  important  as  those  of  the  phy- 
sical world.  In  arguing  with  him,  the  question  turns  around  two 
points  : 

"  I.  Can  development  evolve  new  species  of  plants  and  animals? 
This  is  by  no  means  settled,  as  many  naturalists,  on  the  one  hand, 
and  many  theologians,  on  the  other,  suppose.  We  have  no  direct 
proof  of  any  new  species  of  plant  or  animal  being  produced  by 
development.  There  is  no  such  process  going  on  visibly  at  the 
present  time,  and  we  have  no  report  of  any  one  perceiving  it  in  the 
past.  The  first  monkey  that  became  a  man  has  left  us  no  autobi- 
ography to  tell  us  that  he  was  once  a  monkey. 


52  FUTURK    I'UNISHMENT. 

"2.  Is  man  developed  from  the  lower  animals?  I  believe  in 
development,  and  that  it  can  accomplish  much,  but  it  cannot  do 
everything.  It  did  not  create  matter  at  first ;  evolution  implies 
something  to  evolve  from.  It  could  not  give  to  matter  its  power 
of  evolution,  that  is,  it  has  not  created  itself.  Not  only  so,  but  it 
cannot  evolve  the  higher  powers,  such  as  that  of  consciousness, 
intelligence,  and  moral  discernment,  from  the  lower,  the  material, 
or  mere  animal  properties.  There  is  no  known  power  in  dead 
matter  to  produce  living  matter.  There  is  no  potency  in  matter  to 
produce  consciousness,  or  the  intelligence  which  devises  means  to 
secure  an  end. 

"  We  are  entitled  to  ask,  specially,  whence  that  higher  reason 
and  moral  perception  which  makes  us  like  unto  God.  I  believe  we 
have  to  seek  for  this,  not  in  material  or  animal  nature,  but  in  a 
being  himself  possessed  of  the  attributes  he  imparts.  It  will  be 
seen  under  what  limitations  I  hold  the  doctrine  of  Evolution.  I 
stand  by  it  on  the  understanding  that  the  whole  process  is  the  work 
of  God — and  that  there  are  higher  manifestations  of  God's  power 
which  cannot  thus  be  accounted  for." — Rev.  James  McCosh,  D.  D., 
(President,  Princeton  College,  N.  J.) 

"  It  is  a  remarkable  fact,  that  the  first  verse  of  the  Hebrew  sacred 
writings  speaks  of  the  material  universe  as  a  whole,  and  as  origin- 
ating in  a  power  outside  of  itself  The  universe,  then,  in  the  con- 
ception of  this  ancient  writer,  is  not  eternal.  It  had  a  beginning, 
but  that  beginning  in  the  indefinite,  and  by  us  unmeasured  past. 
It  did  not  originate  fortuitously,  or  by  any  merely  accidental  con- 
flict of  self-existent  material  atoms,  but  by  an  act — an  act  of  will 
on  the  part  of  a  Being,  designated  by  that  name  which  among  all 
the  Semitic  peoples  represented  the  ultimate,  eternal,  inscrutable 
source  of  power  and  object  of  awe  and  veneration.  With  the  sim- 
plicity and  child-like  faith  of  an  archaic  age,  the  writer  makes  nc 
attempt  to  combat  any  objections  or  difficulties,  with  which  this 
great  fundamental  truth  may  be  assailed.     He   feels  its  axiomatic 


NOTES   ON    MATERIALISM.  53 

force,  as  the  basis  of  all  true  religion  and  sound  philosophy,  and  the 
ultimate  fact  which  must  ever  bar  our  further  progress,  in  the  inves- 
tigation of  the  origin  of  things — the  production  from  non-existence 
of  the  material  universe,  by  the  eternal  self-existent  God. 

"  If  any  one  should  say,  '  In  the  beginning  was  nothing  ;'  yes, 
says  Genesis,  there  was,  it  is  true,  nothing  of  the  present  matter  and 
arrangement  of  nature.  Yet  all  was  present  potentially  in  the  will 
of  the  Creator. 

"*  In  the  beginning  were  atoms,'  says  another.  Yes,  says  Gen- 
esis, but  THEY  WERE  CREATED  ;  and  SO  says  modern  science,  and 
must  say,  of  ultimate  particles  determined  by  weight  and  measure, 
and  incapable  of  modification  in  their  essential  properties. 

"'  In  the  beginning  were  forces.'  says  yet  another.  True,  says 
Genesis  ;  but  all  forces  are  one  in  origin — they  represent  merely 
THE  FIAT  OF  THE  ETERNAL  AND  SELF-EXISTENT.  Force  must  in 
the  ultimate  resort  be  an  '  expression  of  Will.' 

'"  In  the  beginning  was  Elohim,' adds  our  old  Semitic  authority, 
and  in  him  are  the  absolute  and  eternal  thought  and  will,  the  Creator 
from  whom  and  by  whom  and  in  whom  are  all  things. 

"  Thus  the  simple  familiar  words,  '  In  the  beginning  God  created 
the  heaven  and  the  earth,'  answer  all  possible  questions  as  to  the 
origin  of  all  things,  and  include  all  under  the  conception  of  theism. 

"  The  term  '  evolution,'  need  not  in  itself  be  a  bugbear  on  theo- 
logical grounds.  The  Bible  writers  would,  I  presume,  have  no 
objection  to  it  if  understood  to  mean  the  development  of  the  plans 
of  the  Creator  in  nature.  That  kind  of  evolution  to  which  they 
would  object,  and  to  which  enlightened  reason  also  objects,  is  the 
spontaneous  evolution  of  nothing  into  atoms  and  force,  and  of  these 
into  all  the  wonderful  and  complicated  plan  of  nature,  without  any 
guiding  mind.  Biological  and  palaeontological  science,  as  well  as 
the  Bible,  object  to  the  derivation  of  living  things  from  dead  matter, 
by  purely  natural  means,  because  this  cannot  be  proved  to  be  pos- 
sible, and  to  the  production  of  the  series  of  orgranic  forms  found  as 


54  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

fossils  in  the  rocks  of  the  earth,  by  the  process  of  struggle  for  exist- 
ence and  survival  of  the  fittest,  because  this  does  not  suffice  to 
account  for  the  complex  phenomena  presented  by  this  succession. 
*  *  *  The  origin  and  history  of  life  cannot,  any  more  than 
the  origin  and  determination  of  matter  and  force,  be  explained  on 
purely  material  grounds,  but  involve  the  consideration  of  power 
referable  to  the  unseen  world.  ♦  *  *  When  Evolutionists, 
in  their  zeal  to  get  rid  of  creative  intervention,  trace  all  things  to 
the  interaction  of  insensate  causes,  they  fall  into  the  absurdity  of 
believing  in  absolute  unmitigated  chance,  as  the  cause  of  per- 
fect ordci."— Sir  J.  W.  Dawson,  (Principal,  McGill  Univcrsil)-, 
Montreal.) 


We  cannot  be'Lter  close  these  notes  than  by  the  following  lines, 
representing  the  progress  of  Creation  from  chaos  up  through  the 
mried  grades  of  animal  life  to  man,  the  last  but  grandest  work 
of  Cod  : 

"  In  darkness  of  the  visionary  night 
This  I  beheld  :     Stark  space  and  therein  God, 
God  in  dual  nature  doth  abide — 
Love,  and  Loved  One,  Power  and  Beaut}^'s  self 
And  forth  from  God  did  come,  with  dreadful  thrill, 
Creation,  boundless,  to  the  eye  unformed. 
And  white  with  trembling  fire  and  light  intense. 
And  outward  pulsings  like  the  boreal  flame  ; 
One  mighty  cloud  it  seemed,  nor  star  nor  earth, 
Or  like  some  nameless  growth  of  the  under  seas : 
Creation  dumb,  unconscious,  yet  alive 
With  swift,  concentric,  never  ceasing  urge 
Resolving  gradual  to  one  disk  of  fire. 

And  as  I  looked,  behold  ine  flying  rim 
Grew  separate  from  the  centre,  this  again 
Divided,  and  the  whole  still  swift  revolved, 
Ring  within  ring  and  fiery  wheel  in  wheel, 
Till,  sudden  or  slow  as  chanced,  the  utmost  edge 
Whirled  into  fragments,  each  a  separate  sun, 


NOTES   ON    MATERIALISM  $1 

With  lesser  globes  attendant  on  its  flight, 

These  while  I  gazed  turned  dark  with  smoulderaig  fire 

And,  slow  contracting,  grew  to  solid  orbs. 

Then  knew  I  that  this  planetary  world, 
Cradled  in  light  and  curtained  with  the  dawn 
And  starry  eve,  was  born  ;  though  in  itself 
Complete  and  perfect  all,  yet  but  a  part 
And  atom  of  the  living  universe. 

IL 

Unconscious  still  the  child  of  the  conscious  God,^ 
Creation,  born  of  Beauty  and  Love, 
Beauty  the  womb  and  mother  of  all  worlcls. 
But  soon  with  silent  speed  the  new-made  earth 
Swept  near  me  where  I  watched  the  birth  of  things. 
Its  greatening  bulk  eclipsing,  star  by  star, 
Half  the  bright  heavens.     Then  I  beheld  crawl  forth. 
Upon  the  earth's  cool  crust  most  wondrous  forms 
Wherein  were  hid,  in  transmutation  strange, 
Sparks  of  the  ancient,  never-ceasing  fire  ; 
Shapes  moved  not  solely  by  exterior  law 
But  having  will  and  motion  of  their  own, — 
First  sluggish  and  minute,  then  by  degrees 
Horrible,  monstrous  and  enorm,  without 
Intelligence.     Then  other  forms  more  fine 
Streamed  ceaseless  on  my  sight,  until  at  last 
Rising  and  turning  its  slow  gaze  about 
Across  the  abysmal  void  the  mighty  child 
Of  the  supreme,  divine  Omnipotence — • 
Creation,  born  of  God,  by  Him  begot, 
Conscious  in  Man,  no  longer  blind  and  dumb, 
Beheld  and  knew  its  Father  and  its  God." 


THE  IMMORTALITY  OF  THE  SOUL 


WHERE  AllE  THE  DEAD  ^ 


WHERE  arc  the  mij^hty  ones  of  aj^cs  past, 
Who  o'er  the  world  their  inspiration  cast, 
Whose  memories  stir  our  spirits  Hke  a  blast?— 
Where  are  the  dead  ? 

Did  they  all  die  when  did  their  bodies  die. 
Like  the  brute  dead  passing  forever  by  ? 
Then  wherefore  was  their  intellect  so  high  — 
The  mighty  dead  ? 

Why  was  it  not  confined  to  earthly  sphere, 
To  earthly  wants?     If  it  must  perish  here, 
Why  did  they  languish  for  a  bliss  more  dear — - 
The  blessed  dead  ? 

All  things  in  nature  are  proportionate 
Is  man  alone  in  an  imperfect  state, 
He  who  doth  all  things  rule  and  regulate? — • 
Then  where  the  dead  ? 

If  here  they  perished,  where  their  beings  germ, — 
Here  were  their  thoughts',  their  hopes',  their  wishes'  term  — 
Why  should  a  giant's  strength  propel  a  worm  ? — 
The  dead  I  the  dead  ! 

There  are  no  dead  !     The  forms,  indeed,  did  die, 
That  cased  the  ethereal  beings  now  on  high  ; 
'T  is  but  the  outward  covering  is  thrown  by : 
This  is  the  dead  ! 

The  spirits  of  the  lost,  of  whom  we  sing. 
Have  perished  not  ;  they  have  but  taken  wing, 
Changing  an  earthly  for  a  heavenly  spring  : 
These  are  the  dead  ! 

Thus  is  all  nature  perfect.     Harmony 
Pervades  the  whole,  by  His  all-wise  decree, 
With  whom  are  those,  to  vast  infinity, 
We  misname  dead. 

"  But  there  is  a  spirit  in  man,  and  the  inspiration  of  the  Almighty 
j-iveth  them  understanding.  Who  knoweth  the  spirit  of  man  that 
gocth  upward,  and  the  spirit  of  the  beast  that  gocth  downward  to 
the  earth." 


THE  IMMORTALITY  OF  THE  SOUL. 


7^^  HE  arguments  in  favor  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul 
are  drawn  from  :  (a)  The  almost  universal  belief  of 
mankind,  (b)  The  analogy  of  nature,  (c)  Reason, 
and  (d)  Revelation. 

It  is  a  striking  fact  that  the  doctrine  of  a  future 
^  state  has  almost  universal  belief  among  all  nations.  This 
may  not  be  conclusive  proof  of  the  soul's  immortality,  but  it  cer- 
tainly is  worthy  of  consideration.  On  this  question  there  is  entire 
unity  of  sentiment,  while  on  almost  every  other  of  doctrine  or 
morals,  wide  differences  of  opinion  have,  and  do  still  exist.  To 
whatever  this  universal  belief  in  a  future  state  is  to  be  traced — 
whether  we  regard  it  as  a  mere  traditionary  legend,  or  a  belief 
originally  impressed  upon  the  heart  of  man  by  the  Almighty,  or 
as  a  divine  revelation  handed  down  from  generation  to  generation 
— it  certainly  forms  a  strong  presumption  in  its  favor.  Greek  and 
Roman  Mythology,  Chinese,  African  and  Hindoo  worship,  recog- 
nize existence  beyond  the  grave.  All  the  ancient  funeral  rites, 
especially  the  Egyptian  modes  of  sepulture,  were  based  upon  the 
belief  of  the  soul's  immortality.  The  writings  of  the  more  celebra- 
ted Greeks  and  Romans,  are  pervaded  and  possessed  by  the  same 
idea,  though  certainly  vague  and  indefinite,  in  comparison  with  the 
works  of  modern  thinkers.     Nor  is  it  denied  that  many  of  the  ancient 


6o  I'UTURK    I'UNI.SllMCNT. 

nations  entertained  notions  regarding  the  future,  bordering  ui)on 
absurdity  ;  but  admitting  this,  at  the  foundation  of  every  ancient 
system  of  reh'gion,  there  la)-  the  belief  in  the  soul's  conscious  exist- 
ence after  death. 

To  be  more  explicit,  the  Sc)  thians  believed  death  to  be  a  mere 
change  of  habitation.  The  Magi,  who  were  scattered  over  Assyria 
and  Persia,  universally  admitted  the  necessity  of  a  future  state  of 
rewards  and  punishments.  Socrates  and  Plato,  and  many  other 
Greek  philosophers,  held  the  doctrine.  Plato  represents  Socrates 
shortly  before  his  death  as  saying :  "  When  the  dead  are  arrived  at 
the  rendezvous  of  departed  souls,  whither  their  angel  conducts  them, 
they  are  all  judged.  Those  who  have  passed  their  lives  in  a  man- 
ner neither  entirely  criminal  nor  absolutely  innocent,  are  sent  into 
a  place  where  they  suffer  pains  proportioned  to  their  faults,  till  being 
purged  and  cleansed  of  their  guilt  and  afterwards  restored  to  lib- 
erty, they  receive  the  reward  by  the  good  actions  they  have  done 
in  the  body  ;"  and  after  annexing  a  specific  punishment  to  each 
grade  of  crime,  he  adds  :  "  Those  who  have  passed  through  life  with 
peculiar  sanctity  of  manners,  are  received  on  high  into  a  pure  region, 
where  they  live  with  their  bodies  to  all  eternity  in  a  series  of  joys 
and  delights  which  cannot  be  described."  Holding  such  sentiments, 
we  are  told  the  philosopher  drank  the  poisonous  draught  with  amaz- 
ing tranquility,  and  with  the  aspect  of  one  about  to  exchange  a ' 
short  and  wretched  life,  for  a  blessed  and  eternal  existence.  Homer 
again  gives  us  a  description  of  the  descent  of  Ulysses  into  the  shades 
of  death,  and  Minos  administering  justice  to  the  dead,  as  they  stand 
around  his  dread  tribunal  to  receive  sentence  according  to  their 
past  vices  or  virtues.  Ovid  and  Virgil  taught  the  same  doctrine. 
The  Mahommedan  creed  gives  special  prominence  to  a  future  exist- 
ence after  death.  The  followers  of  the  false  prophet,  to  this  day, 
entertain  the  belief  of  a  state  of  luxurious  and  sensual  blessedness 
beyond  human  conception.  The  paradise  of  the  Mussulman  is  a 
rude  copy  of  an  earthly  garden  of  pleasure.     The  ultimate  and  glo- 


Tiie  multitude  of  bright  Spirite,  ofieriag  to  satisfy  the  poet  of  auythiiig  he  desires  to  know. 

— Tke  Visioa  of  Paradise,  Canto  v. 


IMMORTALITY   OF    THE    SOUL.  6l 

rfous  destiny  of  the  believer  and  the  blessed — the  warrior  who  has 
shed  his  blood  in  the  cause  of  God,  and  the  prophet,  and  the  der- 
vis,  whose  body  has  fallen  under  the  discipline  of  abstinence  and 
continual  penance,  is  a  condition  of  existence  where  all  are  eternally 
happy  and  undecaying,  amid  verdant  groves,  bright  with  unclouded 
sunshine,  and  moistened  with  streams  containing  a  beverage  more 
delicious  than  the  juice  of  the  choicest  grape.  Thus  we  find  that 
the  most  civilized  nations  ot  antiquity,  alike  with  the  savage  hordes 
of  heathen  lands,  held  the  doctrine  of  immortality.     As  Pope  says  : 

"  Even  the  poor  Indian,  whose  untutored  mind. 
Sees  God  in  clouds,  or  hears  him  in  the  wind  ; 
Whose  soul  proud  science  never  taught  to  stray 
Far  as  the  solar  walk  or  milky  way  : 
Yet  simpler  nature  to  his  hope  has  given 
Behind  the  cloud-topt  hill  an  humbler  heaven  : 
Some  safer  world  in  depths  of  wood  embraced. 
Some  happier  island  in  the  watery  was'ce. 
Where  slaves  once  more  their  native  land  behold, 
No  fiends  torment,  no  christians  thirst  for  gold, 
And  thinks  admitted  to  yon  equal  sky. 
His  faithful  dog  shall  bear  him  company." 

Leaving  the  argument  for  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  based 
upon  the  almost  universal  belief  of  mankind,  we  find  nothing  in 
nature  opposed  to  such  a  doctrine,  but  very  much  that  assures  us 
it  is  true. 

If  we  look  to  the  state  of  man  at  his  entrance  upon  life,  and 
contrast  the  helplessness  and  dependence  of  infancy  with  the 
strength  of  manhood,  we  can  deduce  this  general  law,  that  the  same 
creatures  may  exist  at  different  periods,  with  varied  degrees  of  per- 
ception and  sensation,  and  capacities  of  action,  enjoyment  and  suf- 
fering. This  law  holds  good  in  many  departments  of  animal  life. 
The  worm  becomes  the  fly,  and  the  insect  bursts  its  shell.  The 
butterfly,  casting  aside  its  chrysalis  shape,  rises  on  its  silver-tinged 
wings  into  the  summer  sunbeam.  Other  illustrations  might  be 
given  of  a  fact   patent  to  every  intelligent  observer,  favoring  the 


62  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

supposition,  that  \vc  shall  exist  after  death  in  a  state  different  from 
the  present,  but  analogous  to  a  law  of  nature  now  in  operation,  only- 
more  fully  do-velopcd  and  in  keeping  with  the  nobler  destiny  of 
rational  and  immortal  beings. 

In  our  present  condition  of  existence,  we  have  capacities  for 
action,  enjoyment  and  suffering.  The  very  possession  of  these 
before  death,  is  a  strong  presumption  that  we  shall  retain  them  in, 
and  after  death.  It  is  in  accordance  with  all  true  logical  argument, 
to  hold  by  the  continuance  of  any  attribute  or  function  of  existence, 
whether  in  mind  or  matter,  until  we  see  adequate  cause  for  its  des- 
truction. We  have  an  illustration  of  this  in  the  case  of  sleep.  Dur- 
ing the  period  of  slumber,  or  when  a  person  is  in  a  swoon,  all 
the  faculties  of  the  mind  exist,  although  not  in  active  exercise.  No 
one  doubts  that  all  the  mental  powers  are  possessed  as  truly  in 
sleep  as  when  awake,  and  that  they  are  only  for  the  time  being 
unexercised.  The  heat  of  fire  is  in  the  flint  before  it  is  struck  by 
the  flint,  only  latent.  By  the  collision  of  the  two  elements,  the  fire 
is  ejected,  and  turned  to  practical  purposes.  And  thus  in  like 
manner,  man  retains  during  sleep  all  the  faculties  and  powers  of 
mind  and  imagination,  although  for  the  time  latent  ;  when  sleep  is 
over  and  consciousness  has  returned,  and  he  is  brought  back  again 
into  contact  with  the  external  world,  reason  and  intellect  reassert 
their  sway. 

There  is  nothing,  then,  so  far  as  we  can  discern,  to  suggest  the 
idea  that  living  beings  will  ever  cease  to  live.  We  cannot  of  course 
trace  the  experience  of  the  soul,  through  and  after  death.  All  that 
we  can  do  is  to  reason  from  analogy.  Death  destroys  the  sensible 
proof,  that  after  this  great  change  we  retain  possession  of  the  pow- 
ers of  thought  and  action,  but  it  furnishes  no  reason  for  supposing 
that  we  are  then  deprived  of  them,  and  that  the  grave  puts  an  end 
to  all  the  aspirations  of  life.  So  far  from  this  gloomy  and  fore- 
boding thought,  the  fact  that  we  retain  these  powers  up  to  that, 
moment,  is  a  strong  presumption,  that  we  shall  retain  them  bc}-ond 


IMMORTALITY   OF    THE    SOUL.  63 

We  may  lose  our  limbs  or  certain  of  the  organs  of  sense,  and  yet 
we  remain  the  same  beings.  The  amputation  of  a  limb  or  an  arm, 
is  never  regarded  as  proof  of  a  corresponding  diminution  in  the 
activity  of  the  mind.  Many  gifted  men  have  deformed  bodies, 
while  others  who  are  deaf  or  dumb  or  blind,  are  marvels  of  intellec- 
tual acumen.  According  to  the  established  order  of  things  our 
bodies  are  constantly  wearing  away,  so  that  in  the  course  of  a  few 
years  we  lose  the  greater  part  of  the  material  and  physical,  but  in 
spite  of  this  change,  we  remain  the  same  living  agent.  The  think- 
ing principle  remains  unaltered — the  real  man  is  unaffected  by  the 
decay  of  the  outer.  If  this  is  so  during  the  present  existence,  why 
not  so  after  death,  when  the  tabernacle  of  clay  has  been  dissolved 
and  has  returned  to  dust? 

It  follows,  then,  that  the  separation  or  destruction  of  the  active 
bodily  organs,  does  not  in  any  way  affect  the  moving  agent.  The 
different  senses  are  but  mediums,  by  which  we  conduct  our  obser- 
vations. Active  power  is  not  diminished  by  the  loss  of  a  limb. 
Although  the  external  moving  instrument  is  destroyed,  the  primary 
cause  of  action  remains.  The  withdrawal  of  one  or  any  of  the 
bodily  organs,  does  not  prove  the  annihilation  of  what  is  vital  in 
man's  nature.  It  is  true  that  the  powers  of  sensation  depend  wholly 
upon  the  bodily  organs,  but  not  so  the  powers  of  mind  and  reflec- 
tion. These  operate  in  a  different  way,  and  through  entirely  differ- 
ent channels.  When  the  senses  convey  ideas  of  external  nature  to 
the  mind,  we  are  capable  of  reflecting  and  experiencing  either 
pleasure  or  pain,  without  any  assistance,  so  far  as  we  know,  from 
that  body  which  is  destroyed  at  death.  Thence  we  argue,  that  if 
in  our  present  state  of  being  the  soul  can  exercise  its  functions, 
uninfluenced  by  the  body, — if  it  derives  the  greater  part  of  its  hap- 
piness and  enjoyment  from  inward  operations,  altogether  independ- 
ent of  external  influences,  we  have  a  right  to  believe  that  after  death 
it  will  continue  to  act  in  a  similar  method.  In  opposition  to  what 
I  have  advanced,  it  is  said  by  Materialists  that  death  is  the  end  of 


64  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

all  existence,  that  the  mortal  shall  never  put  on  immortality,  that 
so  soon  as  the  organs  of  the  body  are  subjected  to  the  laws  of  inani- 
mate matter,  sensation,  perception  and  apprehension  aro  at  an  end. 
If  indeed  it  held  universally  true,  that  simultaneously  with  the 
approach  of  death  the  powers  of  the  mind  became  weakened  and 
disorganized,  it  might  shake  our  confidence  to  some  extent  in  the 
argument  drawn  from  the  analogy  of  nature.  But  experience  tes- 
tifies that  mortal  diseases  often  leave  the  reflecting  powers  unim- 
paired, and  that  so  far  from  becoming  feeble  and  inoperative,  they 
often  reach  their  highest  vigor  the  moment  before  dissolution.  If 
it  is  asked,  how  are  the  ideas  acquired  by  sensation  to  be  supplied 
when  the  soul  is  separated  from  the  body  ?  our  only  answer  is,  Me 
who  originally  framed  and  moulded  into  harmony  the  wonderful 
mechanism  of  soul  and  body,  can  after  death  supply  other  means 
of  communication,  to  compensate  for  the  absence  of  the  bodily 
organs.  And  finally,  if  we  are  asked,  why  deny  to  the  brute  crea- 
tion the  same  immortality  we  claim  for  man  ?  our  reply  is,  that  the 
more  we  examine  the  instincts  and  dispositions  of  the  lower  ani- 
mals, the  stronger  is  the  conclusion  that  they  were  designed  for  this 
world,  and  this  world  alone,  made  in  subjection  to  and  for  the  use 
of  man,  who  occupies  a  place  but  a  little  lower  than  the  angels,  and 
has  been  crowned  with  glory  and  honor.  The  insignificance  of  man, 
as  compared  with  the  immensity  and  grandeur  of  the  universe,  is 
no  longer  used  as  an  argument  against  his  immortality.  On  the 
contrary,  the  condescension  manifested  in  God's  mindfulness  of  man, 
throws  around  the  character  of  the  Deity  a  richer  halo  of  glory,  and 
bears  testimony  to  the  unselfishness  and  perfection  of  His  love. 
"  Man  is  one  world  and  hath  another  to  attend  him."  As  the  great 
dramatist  says  :  "  What  a  piece  of  work  is  man  !  how  noble  in 
reason  !  how  infinite  in  faculties  !  in  form  and  moving,  how  express 
and  admirable !  in  action  how  like  an  angel !  in  apprehension  how 
like  a  God  !"  It  is  not  here  upon  this  little  earth  that  he  is  to  play 
his  better  part,  but  yonder. 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  65 

"  All,  all  on  earth  is  shadow — all  beyond  is  substance. 

This  is  the  bud  of  being,  the  vestibule  . 

Strong  death  alone  can  heave  the  massy  bar 

This  gross  impediment  of  clay  remove, 

And  make  us,  embryos  of  existence  free, 

Embryos  we  must  be,  till  we  burst  the  shell, 

Yon  ambient  azure  shell,  and  spring  to  life  and  reach  it  there, 

Where  seraphs  gather  immortality." 

Nature's  analogies  never  belie  her  maker.  She  teaches  no  such 
doctrine,  as  would  represent  the  Almighty  making  man  designedly 
to  perish  with  the  body,  or  as  incapable  of  bestowing  upon  him  im- 
mortality. Had  she  a  voice,  she  would  protest  against  such  gross 
materialism,  for  as  the  poet  well  says  : 

"  Know'st  thou  the  value  of  a  soul  immortal  ? 
Behold  the  midnight  glory,  worlds  on  worlds ! 
Amazing  pomp  !     Redouble  the  amaze  : 
Ten  thousand  add,  and  twice  ten  thousand  more, 
Then  weigh  the  whole,  one  soul  outweighs  them  all." 

Having  briefly  considered  the  arguments  from  the  almost  uni- 
versal belief  of  all  nations  in  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  and  from 
the  analogies  of  nature,  we  are  now  prepared  to  appeal  to  reason — 
what  says  the  soul  itself? 

It  will  be  admitted  that  there  is  within  the  breast  of  every  one 

a  strong  and  resistless  yearning  after  future  existence.     The  mind 

is  ever  seeking  for  new  objects  of  interest,  and   more  satisfying 

pleasures  than  the  present  affords. 

"  The  soul  uneasy  and  confined  from  home, 
Rests  and  expatiates  on  a  life  to  come." 

The  intense  thirst  after  knowledge  also,  which  is  common  to  the 

race,  points  to  a  time  when  we  shall  no  longer  see  through  a  glass 

darkly,  but  face  to  face  ;  when  we  shall  no  longer  know  but  in  part, 

but  shall  know  as  we  are  known.     For  this  keen  desire  after  greater 

intellectual  attainments  does  not  weaken  as  life  advances  and  the 

term  of  man's  mortal  pilgrimage  draws  nearer  its  close.     On  the 

contrary,  it  is  almost  invariably  the  case  that  the  longer  man  lives 
6 


66  FUTURE    I'UNLSIIMENT. 

the  stronGjcr  it  becomes.  We  cannot  suppose  tliat  the  Creator  should 
have  implanted  in  man  these  unsatisfied  longings,  only  to  be  extin- 
guished after  a  few  j-ears  probation  here,  and  often  when  the  mind 
is  entering  upon  its  greatest  discoveries  and  conquests.  Even  ill 
the  short  space  allotted  man  on  earth,  how  grand  are  his  achieve- 
ments !  Heights  of  fancy  and  imagination  have  been  reached,  and 
discoveries  in  science  proved,  that  indicate  the  wonderful  possibil- 
ities of  the  human  mind.  The  immensity  of  the  stellar  world,  and 
the  motions  of  mighty  orbs  and  planets  that  revolve  in  space,  and 
the  myriads  of  microscopic  beings  that  live  then-  liitle  hour  in  a 
single  drop  of  water,  have  all  been  proved  to  a  demonstration,  so 
that  of  man  it  may  almost  be  said,  and  that  in  no  mere  figurative 
sense,  "  He  weighs  the  hills  in  scales,  and  the  mountains  in  a  bal- 
ance." He  explores  the  dark  caves  of  earth,  ransacks  the  sepulchre 
of  ocean,  and  classifies  the  innumerable  productions  of  the  deep. 
He  analyses  the  elementary  principles  of  the  invisible  atmosphere, 
discourses  on  the  nature  of  the  thunder  peal,  arrests  the  lightning 
flash,  and  chains  it  to  his  chariot  wheel.  No  wonder  that  a  heathen 
philosopher  said  :  "  When  I  consider  the  wonderful  activity  of  the 
mind  :  so  great  a  memory  of  the  past,  and  such  a  capacity  of  pene- 
trating what  is  future :  when  I  behold  such  a  number  of  arts  and 
sciences  and  such  a  multitude  of  discoveries,  I  am  firmly  persuaded 
that  a  nature  which  contains  so  many  things  within  itself,  cannot 

be  mortal." 

"  Say,  can  a  soul  possessed 
Of  such  extensive,  deep  tremendous  powers, 
Enlarging  still,  be  but  a  finer  breath 
Of  spirits  dancing  through  their  tubes  a  while, 
And  then  forever  lost  in  vacant  air  ?" 

Such  a  melancholy  conclusion,  no  unprejudiced  mind  can  for  a 
moment  entertain,  but  on  the  contrary  feel  that  there  are  the  strong- 
est grounds  for  the  conviction  that  man's  rational  powers,  instead 
of  being  quenched  at  death,  shall  attain  greater  strength,  and  enjoy 
full  fruition  in  another  world.     We  mav  recognize  the  beatings  of 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  67 

the  soul  against  the  bars  of  its  clayey  tenement,  and  gather  from 
the  mortal  impediments  that  confound  and  baffle  it,  assurance,  that 
it  is  winged  to  soar  in  an  ampler  and  diviner  atmosphere,  than  in- 
vests this  earthly  pilgrimage. 

As  connected  with  this  part  of  our  argument,  and  forming  a 
a  special  proof  for  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  we  may  mention 
that  general  law  of  adaptation,  which  has  been  so  ably  discussed 
by  Dr.  Chalmers  in  his  celebrated  Bridgewater  treatise,  from  which 
we  quote  : — "  There  is  one  special  proof  for  the  immortality  of  the 
soul  founded  on  adaptation.  The  argument  is  this :  For  every 
desire  or  faculty,  whether  in  man  or  the  inferior  animals,  there 
seems  to  be  a  counterpart  in  external  nature.  Let  it  be  either  an 
appetite  or  a  power,  and  let  it  reside  either  in  the  intellectual  or  in 
the  moral  economy,  still  there  exists  a  something  that  is  altogether 
suited  to  it,  and  which  seems  to  be  expressly  provided  for  its  grati- 
fication. There  is  light  for  the  eye  ;  air  for  the  lungs  ;  food  for  the 
ever-recurring  appetite  ;  society  for  the  lone  ;  whether  of  fame  or 
fellowship  ;  there  is  a  boundless  field  in  all  the  objects  of  all  the 
sciences,  for  the  exercise  of  curiosity  ;  in  a  word,  there  seems  not 
one  of  the  affections  of  the  living  creature,  which  is  not  met  by  a 
counterpart  and  a  congenial  object  in  the  surrounding  creation. 
But  there  are  also  prospective  contrivances  in  which  are  unfolded 
to  us  other  adaptations.  They  consist  of  embryo  arrangements  or 
parts  not  for  immediate  use,  but  for  use  eventually  ;  preparations 
going  on  in  the  animal  economy,  whereof  the  full  benefit  is  not  to 
be  realized  till  some  future,  and  often  considerably  distant,  devel- 
opment shall  have  taken  place — such  as  the  teeth  buried  in  their 
sockets  that  would  be  inconvenient  during  the  first  months  of 
infancy,  and  other  instances  where  this  law  is  seen  to  operate  in 
the  material  world.  We  may  perceive  in  this,  he  goes  on  to  say, 
the  glimpse  of  an  argument  for  the  soul's  immortality.  What  infer- 
ence shall  we  draw  from  this  remarkable  law  in  nature?  That 
there  is  nothing  waste,  and  nothing  meaningless  in  the  feelings  and 


68  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

faculties,  wherewith  living  creatures  are  endowed.  For  each  desire 
there  is  a  counterpart  object — for  each  faculty  there  is  room  and 
opportunity  of  exercise,  either  in  the  present  or  in  the  coming  futu- 
rity. But  for  the  doctrine  of  immortality,  man  would  be  an  excep- 
tion to  this  law.  He  would  stand  forth  as  an  anomaly  in  nature  ; 
with  aspirations  in  his  heart  for  which  the  universe  had  no  antitype 
to  offer  ;  with  capacities  of  understanding  and  thought,  that  never 
were  to  be  followed  by  objects  of  corresponding  greatness,  through 
the  whole  history  of  his  being.  This  were  a  violence  to  the  har- 
mony of  things  whereof  no  other  example  can  be  given.  It  were 
a  reflection  on  one  of  the  conceived,  if  not  one  of  the  ascertained, 
attributes  of  the  Godhead.  And  unless  there  be  new  circumstances 
awaiting  man  in  a  more  advanced  state  of  being,  he,  the  noblest  of 
nature's  products  here  below,  would  turn  out  to  be  the  greatest  of 
her  failures." 

The  last  consideration  which  reason  suggests  for  a  future  state, 
is  founded  upon  the  present  condition  of  the  world,  and  the  unequal 
distributions  of  rewards  and  punishments.  In  accordance  with  the 
moral  government  of  the  Divine  Being,  we  believe  there  must  be  a 
future  existence. 

The  miseries  of  the  present  life  are  tasted  by  all,  and  did  each 
man  suffer  in  proportion  to  his  sins  and  shortcomings,  there  might 
be  less  reason  for  assuming  the  fact  of  another  existence.  But  very 
different  is  the  case.  Often  the  good  suffer,  not  directly  for  per- 
sonal wrong-doing,  but  from  the  injustice  and  violence  of  others. 
Looking  upon  the  face  of  society  we  see  oftentimes  oppression  tri- 
umphant, might  sovereign  over  right,  the  innocent  punished,  while 
the  guilty  escape.  Such  inequality  of  fortune,  furnishes  no  mean 
argument  for  the  immortality  of  the  soul.  Who  can  conceive  that 
a  God  of  spotless  equity  and  impartiality,  will  leave  unsettled  such 
seeming  inconsistencies,  or  doubt  but  that  a  time  is  coming,  when 
not  only  the  grievances  and  injuries  committed  between  man  and 
man  shall  be  adjusted,  but  when  there  shall  be  a  final  balancing  of 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE    SOUL.  69 

accounts  between  man  and  his  Maker  ?  The  history  of  humanity 
is  stained  by  wholesale  atrocities  and  cold-blooded  murders.  The 
dark  places  of  the  earth  are  still  the  habitations  of  horrid  cruelty. 
What  of  the  terrible  slaughter  of  the  Waldenses,  among  the  Alpine 
mountains,  the  suffering  of  the  Protestants  of  France  in  the  reign 
of  the  despotic  Louis  XIV.,  the  massacre  of  Saint  Bartholomew, 
the  fires  of  Smithfield  and  the  Grassmarket,  and  the  long  and 
bloody  persecution  of  the  Covenanters?  In  many  instances,  the 
abettors  of  such  atrocities  have  escaped  human  retribution.  Surely 
there  must  be  a  day,  when  the  cry  of  the  saints  under  the  altar 
shall  be  heard,  and  justice  meted  out  to  the  enemies  of  the  Most 
High.  If,  as  has  been  said,  the  present  is  the  only  state  of  punish- 
ment and  rewards  ;  if  when  the  body  ceases  to  move,  and  the 
tongue  to  speak,  there  is  a  complete  end  of  all  appertaining  to 
humanity,  on  what  grounds  can  we  vindicate  or  maintain  the  recti- 
tude of  the  Almighty  in  these  dispensations  of  his  providence  ? 

And,  now,  leaving  the  considerations  in  favor  of  the  immor- 
tality of  the  soul,  drawn  from  the  almost  universal  belief  of  nations, 
the  analogies  of  nature  and  the  testimony  of  reason,  all  that  remains 
for  us  is  to  glance,  in  a  few  sentences,  at  the  witness  of  the  spirit 
in  the  volume  of  inspiration.  Every  man  who  has  read  the  Bible 
to  any  extent,  be  he  Materialist,  Skeptic  or  Christian,  must  acknow- 
ledge that  the  doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul  is  taught 
more  or  less  explicitly  in  every  part  of  the  Book.  Without  it,  in- 
deed, revelation  is  an  unmeaning  mockery  and  a  mass  of  contradic- 
tions. For  the  present  we  assume,  that  God's  word  is  the  founda- 
tion of  all  our  knowledge  regarding  the  fu':ure,  and  the  source  of 
all  the  hope  that  irradiates  the  gloomy  passage  of  the  grave. 

It  is  a  common  saying,  but  a  true  one,  that  nature  and  revela- 
tion are  harmonious.  It  is  so  as  regards  the  question  under  dis- 
cussion. What  reason  infers  and  nature  symbolises,  the  Christian 
revelation  clearly  declares.  Life  and  immortality  have  been  brought 
to  light  by  the  Gospel.      The  doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the 


70  FUTURE   rUNISHMENT. 

soul  is  taught  at  the  birth  of  the  Jewish  nation,  as  well  as  at  the 
close  of  the  New  Testament  scriptures.  It  was  held  long  before 
the  advent  of  Christ  by  many  uncivilized  tribes,  and  was  the  re- 
ceived opinion  of  most,  if  not  all,  among  the  Oriental  nations. 
Christ  gave  to  the  doctrine  an  authoritative  sanction,  and  exemplified 
and  embodied  it  in  his  own  resurrection.  We  know  that  this  is 
denied.  Some  good  men,  who  believe  in  the  evangelical  doctrines 
of  the  gospel,  cannot  discover  in  the  Old  Testament  Scriptures,  an)- 
definite  evidence  that  the  Jews  had  any  better  faith  than  their 
neighbors.  They  admit  that  they  had  some  hope  of  a  life  after 
death,  some  vague,  shadowy  presentiment,  that  the  evanescent 
breath  did  not  end  all,  and  that  in  the  occasional  ecstatic  moments 
which  the  keenest  sorrow  and  the  supremest  joy  sometimes  bring 
to  the  spiritual  soul,  they  uttered  the  words  of  anticipation,  into 
which  we  may  easily  read  a  Christian  assurance  which  they  did  not 
possess — that  to  David  in  the  hour  of  his  great  sorrow,  at  the  grave 
of  his  infant  child,  there  came  the  half  hope,  half  despair,  "  I  shall 
go  to  him,  but  he  shall  not  return  to  me,"  and  that  to  Job  in  his 
bewilderment  of  grief  there  came  a  gleam  like  the  flash  of  an  aurora 
in  a  winter's  cheerless  night,  "  I  know  that  my  Redeemer  liveth." 
But  these,  they  argue,  are  only  "  the  reactions  and  protests  of  souls 
well-nigh  bewildered  by  their  own  grief,  against  its  intolerable 
tyranny.  There  is  no  revelation  of  immortality  ;  no,"  thus  saith 
the  Lord,  "  no  rock  rolled  away  from  the  tomb,  and  disclosure  of 
angels  sitting  there  ;  no  clear,  sweet-toned,  triumphant  song  in  the 
night — no  eastern  morn."  The  Old  Testament,  according  to  this 
view,  "  is  one  long,  unbroken  Good  Friday,  while  hope  and  love, 
like  the  two  Marys,  sit  over  against  the  tomb,  and  wail  and  weep 
and  frame  their  wishes  into  hopes,  that  die  in  the  very  utterance." 
We  cannot  come  to  such  a  conclusion.  It  was  indeed  impossible 
for  the  Jews — so  intimately  associated  with  the  Egyptians — a 
people  that  recognized  the  doctrine  of  immortality — not  to  be  be- 
lievers in  the  survival  of  the  soul  after  the  death  of  the  body.     Xor 


IMMORTALliV    OF    THE   SOUL.  71 

can  we  Imagine  that  God  would  conceal  such  an  important  funda- 
mental truth,  from  the  knowledge  of  his  own  chosen  people.  On 
the  contrary,  we  should  expect  that  in  types,  and  symbols,  and 
and  commiunications  of  His  will,  made  to  them  from  time  to  time, 
plain  reference  would  be  made  to  the  life  beyond  the  grave.  Such 
is  the  case.  The  language  of  the  Old  Testament  pre-supposcs  the 
immortality  of  the  soul.  Patriarch  after  patriarch  rejoiced  in  the 
hope.  The  tianslation  of  Enoch  and  Elijah,  "  and  the  gathering 
to  his  people,"  of  one  aged  saint  after  another,  indicates  a  universal 
belief  in  life  after  death.  Abraham  expected  "  a  city  which  had 
foundations,  whose  builder  and  maker  was  God."  Moses  endured 
"  as  seeing  Him  who  is  invisible,  for  he  had  respect  to  the  recom- 
pense of  the  reward."  David  said  :  "  As  for  me,  I  shall  behold 
Thy  face  in  righteousness  ;  I  shall  be  satis5ed  when  I  awake  with 
Thy  likeness.  Thou  will  show  me  the  path  of  life  ;  in  Thy  presence 
is  fullness  of  joy  ;  at  Thy  right  hand  arc  pleasures  for  evermore." 
Isaiah  says  :  "  Thy  dead  men  shall  live,  together  with  my  dead 
body  shall  they  arise."  Solomon  declares  his  belief  in  the  doctrine, 
in  the  well  known  words  of  Ecclesiastes  r  "  Rejoice,  O,  young  man, 
in  thy  youth,  and  walk  in  the  ways  of  thy  heart,  and  in  the  sight  of 
thine  eyes,  but  know  that  for  all  these  things  God  will  bring  thee 
into  judgment."  Similar  testimony  might  be  given  from  the  later, 
and  minor  prophets,  demonstrating  conclusively  that  the  doctrine 
of  the  soul's  immortality  was  not  only  taught  by  Old  Testament 
writers,  and  sung  of  by  every  Bible  bard  from  creation  downwards, 
but  also  believed  in  and  appropriated  in  all  the  changing  circum- 
stances of  their  lives. 

When  we  come  to  the  New  Testament  Scriptures,  the  doctrine, 
as  might  be  expected,  is  still  more  clearly  enunciated.  It  is  there 
treated  not  as  an  abstract  theory,  but  as  a  consequent  of  Christ's 
death  and  resurrection.  The  immortality  of  the  soul  and  the  con- 
ditions of  souls  in  the  future  state,  are  spoken  of  together.  Paul 
speaks   of  "the   eternal  weight  of  glory"  laid  up  in   Heaven — of 


•Jl  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

"  a  house  not  made  with  hands,  eternal  in  the  heavens."  Peter  in 
glowing  language,  describes  the  lively  hope,  begotten  in  believers 
by  the  resurrection  of  Jesus  Christ,  "  to  an  inheritance  incorruptible 
and  undefiled  and  that  fadeth  not  away  ;"  and  the  beloved  John,  in 
giving  the  assured  and  glorious  prospect  of  exchanging  this  poor 
mortal  life  for  a  changeless  existence,  but  unable  to  describe  it,  says  : 
"It  doth  not  yet  appear  what  we  shall  be,  but  we  know  that  when 
He  shall  appear,  we  shall  be  like  Him,  for  we  shall  see  Him  as 
He  is." 

For  those  of  our  readers,  who  desire  to  study  out  more  fully  the 
testimony  of  the  Hebrew  scriptures  to  the  immortality  of  the  soul, 
the  able  lecture  of  Professor  J.  M.  Hirschfelder,  of  the  University 
of  Toronto,  entitled,  "  A  critical  investigation  of  the  doctrine  of  the 
immortality  of  the  soul,  as  set  forth  in  the  Old  Testament,"  is  to  be 
highly  commended.  His  accurate  knowledge  of  the  Oriental  lan- 
guages and  literature,  and  the  candor  and  impartiality  manifested 
in  all  his  writings,  entitle  his  conclusions  to  the  utmost  respect. 
His  argument  in  a  condensed  form  is  somewhat  as  follows  :  The 
doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  must  necessarily  have  its 
foundation  in  the  creation  of  man.  If  Adam,  our  first  parent,  was 
created  an  immortal  being,  then  the  immortality  of  the  soul  can  no 
longer  be  questioned.  A  glance  at  the  language  used  by  the  sacred 
writer,  in  the  narrative  of  the  creation  of  man,  shows  at  the  very 
outset  his  superior  dignity  and  preeminence  above  all  the  other 
creatures,  and  the  great  solemnity  and  importance  which  scripture 
attaches  to  this  creative  act.  All  the  other  creatures  were  called 
into  existence  by  the  simple  fiat  of  God,  but  here,  God  is  first  repre- 
sented as  taking  counsel  with  himself — "  Let  us  make  man  in  our 
image,  after  our  likeness."  "  So  God  created  the  man  in  his  own 
image,  in  the  image  of  God  created  He  him."  If  it  is  asked,  in 
what  sense  man  bears  the  image  and  likeness  of  God,  the  answer 
is,  not  in  so  far  as  the  bodily  form  is  concerned.  In  the  creation  of 
man,  two  distinct  acts  are  mentioned.     "  The  Lord  God  formed  the 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE    SOUL.  73 

man  of  the  dust  of  the  ground,  and  breathed  into  his  nostrils,  the 
spirit  or  breath  of  life,  and  he  became  a  living  creature."     So  far, 
then,  as  the  body  is  concerned,  it  is  merely  dust,  but  "  the  breathing 
into  his  nostrils  the  spirit  of  life,  by  which  man  became  a  living 
creature,"  shows  that  man  has  a  life,  which  has  nothing  in  commo; 
with  the  dust,  or  as  it  has  been  said  :    "  The  body  is  nothing  but  a 
scabbard   of  a  swoi'd,  in   which  the    soul  is   put   up."     The  word 
"breath,"  employed  by  the  inspired  penman,  really  denotes  "God's 
own  spirit."     It  is  only  applied   in  the   Hebrev/  to  God  and  man, 
and  indicates  the  close  affinity  of  man  with  his  creator.     It  is  the 
possession  of  this  spirit  which  so  immeasurably  exalts  man  above 
all  other  creatures,  and   makes  him  "but  a  little  lower  than  the 
angels."     The  breath  of  God  became  the  soul  of  man  :  the  soul  of 
man,  therefore,  is  nothing  but  the  breath  of  God.     The  rest  of  the 
vv'orld  exists  through  the  word  of  God  :  man  through   His  peculiar 
breath,  which  is  the  seal  and  pledge  of  his  relation  to  God.     That 
Adam  was  created  an  immortal  being,  is  also  implied  in  the  sen- 
tence that  was  to  follow  his  disobedience.     The  words,  "  In  the  day 
thou  eatest  thereof,  thou  shalt  surely  die,"  have  no  meaning  what- 
ever, if  man  was  not  destined  to  immortality.     If  he  was  born  mortal 
and  should  remain  mortal,  the  threat  of  death  is  useless. 

The  translation  of  Enoch,  who  passed  from  earth  to  heaven 
without  tasting  death  or  seeing  corruption,  is  another  proof  of  the 
immortality  of  the  soul.  At  the  time  of  his  translation,  he  was  only 
three  hundred  and  sixty-five  years  old,  which  in  these  days  was  not 
half  of  the  ordinary  life  allotted  to  man.  The  "  taking  away  "  of 
Enoch,  therefore,  at  so  early  an  age,  as  a  reward  for  his  great  piety, 
can  only  find  its  explanation  in  God  as  a  loving  father,  having 
taken  him  to  His  eternal  home,  there  to  enjoy  greater  and  never- 
ending  bliss  ;  he  and  Elijah  being  exempted  from  the  common  lot 
of  humanity.  To  explain  the  passage,  "God  took  him,"  as  merely 
meaning  the  removing  from  earth  by  the  common  process  of  dis- 
ease and  death,  as  some  writers  have  most  a')3urdly  done,  would 


74  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

rather  have  been  a  punishment  than  a  reward  for  his  piety,  and  is 
altogether  inconsistent  with  the  representation,  which  pervades  the 
Old  Testament  Scriptures,  where  length  of  days  is  spoken  of  as 
the  reward  of  the  present  life.  Dr.  Kitto,  the  well-known  Bible 
commentator,  says  :  "  As  a  reward  of  his  extraordinary  sanctity, 
he  was  translated  into  heaven,  without  the  experience  of  death. 
Elijah  was  in  like  manner  translated,  and  thus  was  the  doctrine  of 
immortality  PALPABLY  taught  under  the  present  dispensation." 
Delitzsch,  the  German  Theologian,  says  :  ."  Enoch  and  Elijah  were 
translated  into  eternal  life  with  God,  without  disease,  death  and 
corruption,  for  the  consolation  of  believers,  and  to  awaken  the  hope 
of  a  life  after  death."  Indeed  the  most  eminent  German  and  Eng- 
lish critics,  regard  the  "  taking  away  "  of  Enoch,  as  one  of  the  strong- 
est proofs  of  the  belief  in  a  future  state,  prevailing  among  the 
Hebrews.  Without  this  belief,  the  history  of  Enoch  is  a  perfect 
mystery,  "a  liieroglyph  without  a  clue,  a  commencement  without 
an  end." 

In  the  prediction  made  of  Abraham's  death,  the  immortality  of 
the  soul  is  also  distinctly  stated  :  "  Thou  shalt  come  to  thy  fathers 
in  peace  ;  thou  shalt  be  buried  in  a  good  old  age."  This  can  mean 
nothing  else,  than  that  he  should  meet  his  fathers  in  the  blessed 
abode  of  departed  spirits.  If  the  existence  of  his  fathers  terminated 
with  their  returning  to  dust  in  the  grave,  the  words  are  entirely 
meaningless.  In  the  account  also  given  of  his  death,  it  is  said  : 
"  And  Abraham  expired,  and  died  in  a  good  old  age,  and  full  of 
years,  and  he  was  gathered  to  his  people."  His  people  evidently 
existed  somewhere.  Not  certainly  in  the  grave,  but  in  the  abode 
of  departed  spirits.  The  expression,  "  he  was  gathered  to  his  peo- 
ple," cannot  mean  he  was  buried  with  his  people,  for  Abraham's 
sons  buried  him  in  the  cave  of  Macpelah,  in  the  field  of  Ephron,  in 
the  land  of  Canaan,  whilst  all  his  fathers  died,  and  were  buried  in 
Mesopotamia. 

Once  more,  and  to  close  our  quotations  from  the  Old  Testament 
Scriptures,  the  passage  found  in  the  Book  of  Job,  chap.  19,  v.  25-27, 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  75 

has  commonly  been  regarded  as  a  strong  proof  of  the  immortahty 
of  the  soul.     Its  literal  translation  is  as  follows  : 

"  For  I  know  that  my  Redeemer  is  living, 

And  at  the  last  (or  hereafter)  he  will  stand  upon  the  dust  ; 

And  though  after  my  skin  worms  destroy  this  body. 

Yet  from  my  flesh  shall  I  see  God, 

Whom  I  shall  see  for  myself,  and  mine  eyes  shall  beholdj 

And  not  a  stranger, 
Although  my  veins  be  consumed  within  me." 

Professor  Hirschfelder  strongly  advocates  that  view,  as  against 
those  who  regard  it  as  nothing  more  than  a  prediction  of  Job,  that 
he  would  be  restored  to  health  and  prosperity.  There  is,  however, 
still  a  third  opinion  advanced  by  scholars,  that  while  the  doctrine 
of  the  resurrection  from  the  dead  and  the  immortality  of  the  soul, 
may  be  implied  in  the  language,  in  its  primary  significance,  it 
merely  expresses  the  assurance  of  the  Patriarch,  that  at  some  time 
in  the  future  God  would  vindicate  him  from  the  charges  of  his 
friends,  and  assert  his  innocence.  As  the  passage  in  question  has 
been  for  ages  the  subject  of  prolonged  study  and  speculation,  and 
is  emphatically  the  key  by  which  we  arrive  at  a  right  understanding 
of  the  argument  of  the  entire  book,  it  is  deserving  of  more  than  a 
passing  notice. 

The  word  rendered  "  redeemer,"  is  susceptible  of  other  meanings 
than  that  commonly  attached  to  it.  In  the  Old  Testament,  it  is 
applied  to  any  one  who  ransoms  another  from  captivity,  and  fre- 
quently to  the  avenger  of  blood  and  vindicator  of  violated  rights. 
Under  the  Mosaic  law  it  was  the  duty  of  the  nearest  kinsman  to 
take  the  part  of  his  friend  in  life,  and  if  need  be  avenge  his  death, 
by  taking  the  life  of  the  murderer.  Such  a  law  was  common  in 
Oriental  countries,  and  doubtless  was  in  force  in  the  days  of  Job. 
It  was  well  understood  by  the  American  Indians,  and  has  prevailed 
more  or  less  in  all  countries,  before  settled  laws  for  the  trial  and 
punishment  of  the  guilty  were  established.  The  term,  "  redeemer," 
therefore,  does   not  of  itself  determine  the  exact   meaning  of  the 


'j6  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

passage.  It  may  refer  to  God,  as  the  vindicator  of  Job's  character 
from  the  false  slanders  and  accusations  of  his  friends  ;  or  to  God, 
as  his  vindicator  at  the  resurrection  ;  or  to  Christ,  as  the  future 
Messiah  and  Redeemer.  Nor  need  the  words,  "he  shall  stand  upon 
the  dust,"  be  referred  exclusively  to  the  resurrection.  As  argued 
by  certain  scholars,  it  may  simply  imply  that  at  some  future  period 
— it  might  be  at  the  last  day,  or  at  some  subsequent  stage  in  the 
present  life,  and  long  prior  to  the  resurrection, — God  would  appear 
as  his  friend.  Of  one  thing  Job  was  well  assured,  that  however 
great  and  long  protracted  his  sufferings  might  be,  the  time  was 
coming  when  Jehovah  would  stand  upon  the  dust,  and  free  him 
from  all  unjust  aspersions.  Now  he  seems  as  one  unconcerned,  but 
then  he  will  come  forth  in  vengeance.  After  his  skin  has  been 
destroyed,  and  out  of  his  flesh,  he  shall  see  God.  The  words. 
"  worms "  and  "  body,"  have  no  place  in  the  original.  The  idea 
intended  is  exceedingly  obscure.  The  work  of  decay  and  dissolu- 
tion was  steadily  going  on  in  his  body.  It  was  covered  with  sores 
and  ulcers,  and  soon  his  frame  would  be  washed  away.  But  even 
in  this  miserable  condition,  he  believes  God  would  appear.  He 
shall  see  him,  NOT  IN  the  flesh,  as  in  our  translation,  but  OUT  OF 
his  flesh  ;  meaning  either,  when  the  body  is  so  reduced  and  wasted 
that  no  flesh  remains,  or  in  a  renewed  and  glorified  body,  after  he 
awakes  from  the  dust.  He  shall  see  him  on  his  side,  and  hear  hif 
decision  in  his  favor.  He  will  not  be  to  him  as  a  stranger  or  as  ar 
enemy,  but  as  a  friend  and  advocate.  And  it  is  worthy  of  remarl> 
that  Job's  strong  assurance  of  seeing  God  was  realised.  In  the 
38th  chapter,  we  are  told  God  answered  him  out  of  the  whirlwind 
and  in  the  42nd,  under  the  manifestation  of  God's  glory,  the  Patri- 
arch says  :  "  I  have  heard  of  thee  by  the  hearing  of  the  ear  ;  bui 
now  mine  eye  seeth  thee  :  wherefore  I  abhor  myself,  and  repent  ir 
dust  and  ashes." 

In  favor  of  the  view,  that  PRIM.\RILY  the  passage  does  not  teacl- 
the  doctrine  of  a  resurrection,  but  that  at  some  time  in  the  future 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  IJ 

either  before  or  after  his  death,  God  would  vindicate  and  assert  his 
innocence,  the  following  considerations  are  advanced  :  (a)  The 
language  literally  and  fairly  interpreted,  does  not  necessarily  teach 
the  doctrine  of  a  resurrection  and  a  coming  Messiah,  (b)  The  doc- 
trine of  a  resurrection,  if  here,  is  nowhere  else  in  the  book  DEFIN- 
ITELY announced,  while  at  times  the  language  seems  to  teach  the 
very  opposite.  (See  chap.  7,  v.  21  :  10,  v.  21,  22  :  16,  v.  22).  It  is 
not  affirmed  that  the  Patriarch  had  no  knowledge  of  a  resurrection, 
but  it  is  argued  that  if  he  held  it  so  firmly  as  is  commonly  inferred 
from  this  passage,  he  would  frequently  have  referred  to  it,  and  never 
would  have  used  language  that  seemed  to  throw  the  least  shadow 
of  doubt  upon  it.  (c)  The  doctrine  is  never  referred  to  by  either 
of  his  three  friends,  nor  even  by  God  himself,  when  in  reply  to  Job 
and  his  accusers,  he  clears  up  the  mystery  of  his  afflictions,  (d) 
The  whole  structure  of  the  book,  and  the  circumstances  in  which 
the  Patriarch  was  placed,  seem  to  favor  another  interpretation. 
Job's  former  and  present  condition  is  contrasted.  His  character  is 
described  in  the  highest  possible  terms  :  a  man  perfect  and  upright : 
one  that  feared  God  and  eschewed  evil.  His  worldly  and  family 
prosperity  were  marvellous.  He  was  the  greatest  of  all  the  men  of 
the  East.  Then  came  sudden,  severe,  and  repeated  afflictions.  His 
family,  his  wealth,  his  health,  are  taken  away.  In  such  a  situation, 
his  three  friends  come  to  console  him.  They  are  silent  in  presence 
of  his  misery  for  a  time,  but  afterwards  accuse  him  of  great  sin,  for 
which  he  is  being  punished.  They  had  no  idea  of  anything  beyond 
penal  suffering,  and  measure  the  greatness  of  his  wickedness  by  the 
extent  of  the  calamity.  In  this  they  erred,  and  the  grand  design 
of  the  book  is  to  show  their  error.  Job  was  disciplined  by  trial,  not 
for  any  special  act  of  wrong  doing,  but  to  strengthen  his  faith.  As 
soon  as  the  suffering  has  accomplished  its  end,  it  is  removed.  And 
the  lesson  taught  is,  that  men  must  confide  in  God,  and  expect  to 
meet  with  many  things  that  transcend  their  understanding.  Job 
suffers  long,  under  the  unjust  suspicions  of  his  friends,  and  is  almost 


;3  FUTURE    rUMSIIMKNT. 

• 

tempted  to  challenge  the  clealing-.s  of  the  Almighty.  But  at  last  he 
begins  to  reaUse  the  meaning  of  God's  chastisements.  The  cloud 
parts,  and  light  arises  in  his  soul.  The  struggle  is  over,  and  he 
regains  his  confidence  in  the  wisdom  of  the  Almighty.  He  is 
assured  that  his  vindicator — his  friend — his  kinsman,  will  eventually 
make  known  to  his  friends  why  he  has  been  so  afflicted,  and  make 
plain  his  integrity  and  innocence.  "  I  know,"  he  says,  "  that  my 
Redeemer,  orvindicator,  liveth."  He  knew  God  before  in  general — 
now  he  knows  him  in  the  special.  He  is  brought  near  to  him  as  a 
personal  friend.  Formerly  he  had  seen  God's  hand,  in  the  afflic- 
tions of  others  ;  now  he  sees  it  in  his  own,  and  realises  the  comfort 
that  flows  from  the  divine  presence.  The  doctrine  of  a  personal, 
vindicating,  and  avenging  God,  is  no  longer  a  matter  of  speculation. 
He  is  my  kinsman,  says  Job.  I  may  not  live  to  remove  the  unjust 
suspicions  of  my  friends,  but  He  will  do  it.  He  is  bound  to  do  it, 
in  virtue  of  the  close  bond  that  exists  between  us. 

Whatever  may  be  the  value  attached  to  such  an  interpretation 
of  the  passage,  those  who  hold  that  it  goes  much  further  can  accept 
it  as  at  least  a  reasonable  theory,  and  a  valuable  contribution  to  the 
solution  of  a  long  debated  question.  It  has  certainly  much  more 
to  commend  it  than  the  theory,  which  sees  nothing  more  in  Job's 
language  than  a  confident  hope  of  restoration  to  health  and  pros- 
perity. The  language  used  by  the  Patriarch  throughout,  implies 
that  the  disease  under  which  he  is  laboring  was  incurable,  and  that 
he  had  no  expectation  of  relief,  unless  by  miraculous  interposition. 
"  He  hath  destroyed  me  on  every  side,  and  I  am  gone — my  hope 
has  been  torn  up  like  a  tree."  There  was  no  escape  from  his  pres- 
ent trouble,  but  in  the  grave. 

If  then  the  language  implies  entire  dissolution,  are  we  not  com- 
pelled to  fall  back  upon  the  commonly  accepted  interpretation,  that 
the  doctrine  of  a  future  state  is  implied,  when  the  wrongs  of  life 
shall  be  righted  ? — that  the  soul  is  immortal  and  never  dies  ?  Many 
Old  Testament  predictions  have  a  twofold  application,  a  near  and 


IMMORTALITY   OF  THE   SOUL.  79 

a  more  remote.  The  Prophets  and  Seers  of  old  did  not  In  every  case 
fully  understand  the  sweep  and  comprehensiveness  of  their  visions 
and  utterances.  In  this  case,  to  Job,  there  was  a  partial  fulfilment 
at  least  in  the  present  life,  but  to  every  saint  of  God  there  is  none 
the  less  a  Kinsman  Redeemer  from  sin  and  the  grave.  Very  beauti- 
fully, in  accordance  with  such  a  view  of  the  passage,  has  it  been 
paran'nrased  by  Thomas  Scott : 

"  I  know,  that  He  whose  years  can  ne'er  decay 
Will  from  the  graVe  redeem  my  sleeping  clay, 
'When  the  last  rolling  sun  shall  leave  the  skies. 
He  will  survive,  and  o'er  the  dust  arise: 
Then  shall  this  mangled  skin  new  form  assume, 
This  flesh  then  flourish  in  immortal  bloom  : 
My  raptured  eyes  the  judging  God  shall  see, 
Estranged  no  more,  but  friendly  then  to  mc. 
How  does  the  lofty  hope  my  soul  inspire  1 
I  burn,  I  faint  with  vehement  desire." 

In  favor  of  the  commonly  accepted  interpretation,  the  following 
among  other  arguments  are  weighty  :  (a)  The  language  is  such  as 
describes  the  resurrection  and  judgment  that  follows  every  immor- 
tal soul  in  a  future  life,  even  allowing  that  the  old  version  does  not 
give  us  a  correct  translation  of  the  original,  (b)  As  far  back  as 
the  time  of  Job,  belief  in  a  coming  Messiah  was  held  by  the  inhabi- 
tants of  Arabia.  If  so,  what  more  natural  than  that  this  book 
should  make  allusion  to  the  hope  of  Old  Testament  saints  ?  (c^ 
Afflicted  as  Job  was,  such  a  belief  in  a  Redeemer  and  resurrection 
to  eternal  life,  was  admirably  adapted  to  give  the  consolation 
needed,  (d)  The  solemn  manner  in  which  the  words  of  the  text 
are  introduced  ;  his  desiring  to  have  them  engraven  upon  the  rock, 
that  future  generations  might  know  the  grounds  of  his  faith,  seems 
to  point  to  this,  as  the  real  meaning  intended. 

It  is  worthy  of  remark,  that  many  who  do  not  adopt  this  line  ol 
reasoning  in  support  of  the  doctrine  of  the  soul's  immortality,  never- 
theless accept  it  as  true  on  other  grounds.  Greg,  in  his  "  Creed  of 
Christendom,"  a  work  that  assails  the  fundamental  truths  of  the 


8o  FUTURE    I'UNISH.ME-NT. 

Christian  religion,  while  believing  in  the  soul's  immortality,  regards 
such  arguments  as  we  have  advanced  as  deplorably  weak  and  in- 
conclusive. In  his  opinion,  nature  throws  no  light  on  the  subject  ; 
the  phenomena  we  observe  could  never  have  suggested  the  idea  of 
a  renewed  existence  beyond  the  grave  ;  appearances  all  testify  to 
the  reality  and  permanence  of  death  ;  after  death,  all  that  we  have 
ever  known  of  a  man  is  gone  ;  all  that  we  have  ever  seen  is  dis- 
solved into  its  component  elements  ;  it  does  not  leave  us  at  liberty 
to  imagine  that  it  may  have  gone  to  exist  elsewhere,  but  is  actually 
used  up  as  material  for  other  purposes.  The  decay  and  dissolution 
we  observe,  are  to  all  appearance  those  of  the  mind  as  well  as  the 
body.  We  see  the  mind,  the  affections,  the  soul  sympathising  in 
all  the  permanent  changes  of  the  body,  diseased  with  its  diseases, 
enfeebled  by  its  weakness,  wearied  as  the  body  ages,  and  gradually 
sinking  into  imbecility  as  the  body  dies  away  in  helplessness.  The 
argument  drawn  from  the  general  belief  of  mankind,  he  regards  as 
a  fond,  tender,  self-deceptive  weakness,  the  natural  result  of  univer- 
sal love  of  life,  and  horror  of  destruction.  That  which  is  based  on 
its  immateriality,  and  which  makes  the  soul  of  necessity  immortal, 
seems  to  him  mere  assertion,  or  a  matter  of  which  we  know  abso- 
lutely nothing — the  convulsive  flounderings  of  intellects  beyond 
their  depth.  To  say  that  a  future  life  is  needed  to  redress  the  ine- 
qualities of  the  present,  assumes  that  the  Deity  is  bound  to  allot  an 
equal  portion  of  good  to  all  his  creatures,  and  that  human  lots  are 
in  reality  unequal  in  point  of  happiness  and  earthly  good.  And 
finally,  in  replying  to  the  argument  that  man  possesses  faculties 
which  attain  no  adequate  development  on  earth,  and  do  not  ripen 
till  the  approach  of  death,  and  therefore  require  a  future  scene  for 
their  perfection,  he  holds  that  the  powers  of  the  mind  generally 
attain  their  height  in  middle  life,  and  weaken  and  decay  as  age 
creeps  over  the  frame.  And  yet  while  characterising  such  argu- 
ments, as  only  "proofs  of  man's  determination  to  hold  the  doctrine, 
and  not  of  the  truth  of  the  doctrine,"  he  believes  in  it  as  firmly  as 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  Si 

the  most  orthodox  member  of  any  evangelical  church.  It  is,  he 
maintains,  a  matter  of  intuition,  not  of  inference  ;  the  soul  itsell 
perpetually  reveals  it  :  the  intellect  may  imagine  it,  but  could  never 
have  discovered  it,  and  can  never  prove  it.  Apart  from  the -spir- 
itual sense,  there  is  no  solution  of  the  question.  Belief  in  the 
immortality  of  the  soul  is  anterior  to  reasoning,  independent  of 
reasoning,  unprovable  by  reasoning ;  and  yet,  as  no  logic  can 
demonstrate  its  unsoundness,  he  holds  it  with  a  simplicity,  a  ten- 
acity, and  an  undoubting  faith,  which  is  never  granted  to  the  con- 
clusions of  the  understanding.  Man  is  not  dependent  on  the  tardy, 
imperfect,  fallible  and  halting  processes  of  logic,  for  any  convictions 
necessary  either  to  happiness  or  action.  These  arc  all  instinctive, 
primary,  intuitive.  Reason  examines  them,  combines  them,  con- 
firms them,  questions  them  ;  but  there  they  remain,  heedless  alike 
of  her  hostility,  "  asking  no  leave  to  shine  of  our  terrestrial  star." 
Indeed,  whatever  be  their  creed,  and  however  much  men  may  dis- 
sent from  the  generally  accepted  truths  of  Christianity,  in  but  few 
save  where  the  grossest  materialism  has  debased  the  mind,  do  we 
find  unhesitating,  unqualified  denial  of  the  soul's  immortality.  In 
spite  of  the  transcendental  Pantheism  of  Ralph  Waldo  Emerson, 
he  seems  to  have  held  fast  to  a  conscious  future  existence,  notwith- 
standing the  assertions  of  sceptics  to  the  contrary.  When  he  left 
the  pulpit  in  1832  for  literature,  he  said  in  his  farewell  address  to 
his  people  :  "  I  commend  you  to  the  Divine  Providence.  May  he 
multiply  to  your  families  and  to  your  persons  every  genuine  bless- 
ing ;  and  whatever  discipline  may  be  appointed  to  you  in  this 
world,  may  the  blessed  hope  of  the  resurrection,  which  he  has 
planted  in  the  constitution  of  the  human  soul,  and  confirmed  and 
manifested  in  Jesus  Christ,  be  made  good  to  you  beyond  the  grave  !" 
And  in  his  last  essay  given  to  the  world,  which,  strange  to  say,  was 
on  "Immortality,"  we  find  these  sentences  :  "  Everything  is  pros- 
pective, and  man  is  to  live  hereafter.  That  the  world  is  for  his 
education,  is  the  only  sane  solution  of  the  enigma.     The  implant- 


82  FUTURE    PUNISIIMIiXT. 

iiig  of  a  desire  indicates  that  the  gratification  of  that  desire  is  in 
the  constitution  of  the  creature  that  feels  it.  The  Creator  keep^^ 
his  word  with  us.  All  I  have  seen  teaches  me  to  trust  the  Creator 
for  all  I  have  not  seen."  Lord  Byron  said  :  "  I  feel  my  immortality 
overswecp  all  pains,  all  tears,  all  fears,  and  peal  like  the  eternal 
thunders  of  the  deep  into  my  ears  the  truth — "  Thou  livest  lor  ever." 
Such  utterances  from  men,  whose  conclusions  proceed  from  other 
premises  than  those  generally  held  by  orthodox  christians,  prove 
an  almost  universal  and  ineradicable  belief  in  the  immortality  of 
the  soul.  They  warrant  us  in  using  the  beautiful  and  well-known 
lines  of  Martin  Tupper  : 

■■  Gird  up  thy  mind  to  contemplation,  trembling  habitant  of  the 

earth  : 
Tenant  of  a  hovel  for  a  day,  thou  art  heir  of  the  universe  for  ever ! 
For  neither  the  congealing  of  the  grave,  nor  gulfing  waters  of  the 

firmament, 
Nor  expansive  airs  of  Heaven,  nor  dissipative  fires  of  Gehenna, 
Nor  rust  of  rest,  nor  wear,  nor  waste,  nor  loss,  nor  chance,  nor 

change. 
Shall  avail  to  quench  or  overwhelm  the  spark  of  soul  within  thee ! 

Thou  art  an  imperishable  leaf  on  the  evergreen  bay-tree  of  existence; 

A  word  from  Wisdom's  mouth,  that  cannot  be  unspoken  ; 

A  ray  of  Love's  own  light ;  a  drop  in  Mercy's  sea  ; 

A  creation,  marvellous  and  fearful,  begotten  by  the  fiat  of  Omni- 
potence. 

I  that  speak  in  weakness,  and  re,  that  hear  in  charity, 

Shall  not  cease  to  live  and  feel,  though  flesh  may  see  corruption  ; 

For  the  prison  gates  of  matter  shall  be  broken,  and  the  shackled 
soul  go  free." 

And  now,  in  closing  this  part  of  the  subject,  I  ask,  can  any  can- 
did man,  in  view  of  what  has  been  advanced,  comfortably  cherish 
the  thought  that  there  is  no  existence  beyond  death  ?  Is  not  such 
a  prospect  gloomy — unspeakably  dark  and  dreary  ?  What  is  there 
in  Materialism  to  sustain  under  trial — to  nerve  to  effort — to  brighten 
the  shadows  of  old  age  ?  The  dead  Florentines,  we  are  told,  are 
carried  to  thcL   last  resting  place  at  night,  for  no  one  must  be 


lABIOKTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  83 

shocked  during  the  day,  while  in  the  midst  of  sunshine  and  light 
and  gayety,  by  the  thought  that  some  day  there  will  be  no  sunshine 
or  gayety  for  him  in  the  bright  world.  Fitting  obsequies  for  the 
man  who  denies  the  existence  of  a  better  life  to  come,  but  not  for 
him  whose  instincts  point  to  immortality,  as  surely  as  the  instinct 
of  the  bird  points  to  the  southern  clime  !  Strange  indeed,  but  true, 
that  in  this  cultured  19th  century,  there  are  to  be  found  men  who 
disbelieve  everything  except  their  own  infallibility  ;  who  are  never 
happy,  save  when  they  are  ploughing  up  the  very  foundations  of 
revelation.  Leaders  in  the  world  of  thought  and  knowledge,  their 
very  souls  arc  materialised.  They  believe  in  the  mechanics  and 
chemistry,  which  they  see  going  on  in  the  forces  and  visible  agen- 
cies of  the  universe  ;  they  believe  in  reptiles  and  inert  matter,  but 
believe  neither  in  God  nor  the  soul's  immortality.  With  them  the 
question  is  not  how  to  save  the  soul,  but  is  there  a  soul :  not  how 
to  prepare  for  a  final  judgment,  but  whether  there  is  any  future 
existence  at  all :  not  how  to  be  at  peace  with  God,  but  whether 
there  be  a  God  !  The  question  of  the  soul's  immortality  has  been 
settled  long  ago  by  Him  who  cannot  lie,  when  He  says :  "  What 
is  a  man  profited  if  he  shall  gain  the  whole  world  and  lose  his  own 
soul  ?  or,  what  shall  a  man  give  in  exchange  for  his  soul  ?"  This 
implies  that  there  is  a  soul,  different  from  the  body  in  essence  and 
duration  ;  that  it  shall  live  on  forever  ;  that  it  may  be  lost,  and  that 
its  salvation  depends  upon  the  free  will  of  the  man  himself.  When 
Galileo  was  forced  to  recant  his  belief  in  the  motion  of  the  earth 
round  the  sun,  he  could  not  repress  the  better  convictions  of  his 
judgment,  and  muttered  audibly,  "  It  does  move  for  all  that !"  And 
so,  notwithstanding  the  blasphemies  of  Materialists,  and  the  subtile 
teachings  of  a  refined  Agnostiscism,  down  in  the  depths  of  man's 
consciousness  there  is  the  feeling,  that  death  does  not  end  all. 
Cato,  sitting  with  Plato's  book  on  the  immortality  of  the  soul, 
in  his  hand,  and  a  drawn  sword  on  the  table  by  him,  thus 
soliloquizes  : 


84  FUTURE   rUNISlIMENT. 

"  It  must  be  so — Plato  thou  reasoncst  well, 

Else  whence  this  pleasing  hope,  this  fond  desire, 

This  longing  after  immortality  ? 

Or  whence  this  secret  dread  and  inward  horror 

Of  falling  into  naught?     Why  shrinks  the  soul 

Back  on  herself,  and  startles  at  destruction  ? 

'T  is  the  divinity  that  stirs  within  us,. 

*T  is  Heaven  itself,  that  points  out  a  hereafter, 

And  intimates  eternity  to  man 

I  shall  never  die — 

The  soul  secured  in  her  existence,  smiles 

At  the  drawn  dagger,  and  defies  its  point. 

The  stars  shall  fade  away,  the  sun  himself 

Grow  dim  with  age  and  nature  sink  in  years 

But  thou  shalt  flourish  in  immortal  youth, 

Unhurt  amid  the  war  of  elements, 

The  wreck  of  matter  and  the  crash  of  worlds." 

Whatever  then  may  be  our  views  regarding  the  nature  of  a 
future  state,  and  the  eternity  of  future  punishment,  let  us  start  out 
with  the  firm  conviction  that  the  immortality  of  the  soul  is  not  a 
mere  hypothesis.  If  man's  physical  organism  is  of  the  dust,  and 
returns  to  dust,  his  spirit  is  the  inspiration  of  the  Almighty.  He 
is  more  than  the  poet  says  :  "  Half  dust,  half  deity."  While  it  is 
true  that  the  meanest  worm  that  crawls  upon  the  ground  has  a  part 
in  him,  it  is  not  less  true  that  he  is  a  joint-heir  with  Christ,  and 
destined  to  share  the  enduring  honors  of  eternity,  that  are  beyond 
the  reach  of  mortals  in  the  present  life.  As  one  of  our  own  Cana- 
dian poetesses  says  : 

"  Through  life's  long  winter  there  falleth  many  a  ray, 
Strayed  from  the  eternal  summer,  to  glorify  the  day  ; 
And  we  were  duller  than  cattle  if  we  could  not  recognize 
The  presence  of  life  that  liveth  beyond  our  earthly  skies." 

It  is  strange  that  any  number  of  men  should  be  prepared  to 
welcome  this  humiliating  and  debasing  doctrine  of  Materialism, 
assimilating  man  to  the  brute  creation,  and  attempting  to  prove 
that  he   is  but  the    creature   of  sense,  and   unfitted  for  an\  thing 


IMMORTALITY   OF   THE   SOUL.  85 

beyond  animal  enjoyments.  Stranger  still,  in  some  respects,  is  it 
to  find  so  many,  utterly  indifferent  and  unconcerned  as  to  whether 
they  shall  live  or  not  after  death.  Said  a  minister  once  to  a  lead- 
ing citizen,  who  never  went  inside  a  church  except  on  funeral 
occasions,  and  then  only  as  a  token  of  respect  for  the  dead,  "  I  judge 
that  your  ideas  of  God,  the  Bible,  and  Immortality  are  very  differ- 
ent from  those  which  I  have  been  accustomed  to  entertain.  You 
must  have  thought  much  on  these  problems.  Is  there  a  God  ?  Has 
He  even  spoken  to  us  ?  Is  there  a  future  after  death  ?  If  so,  what 
shall  we  do  to  prepare  for  it  ?  I  wish  you  would  give  me  the  result 
of  your  thinking."  "Oh,  I  don't  know,"  was  the  reply;  "some- 
times I  think  one  thing,  sometimes  I  think  another — to  tell  the 
truth,  I  don't  think  much  about  it."  The  rush  of  business  and  car- 
nal pleasure  drown  all  thought  of  personal  accountability,  while  at 
the  same  time  conscience, — 

"In  leaves  more  durable  than  leaves  ot  brass, 

Writes  our  whole  history  which  death  sh.all  read 

In  every  pale  delinquent's  private  ear  ; 

And  judgment  publish — publish  to  more  worlds  than  this — 

And  endless  age  in  groans  resound." 


NOTES  ON   THE 

IMMORTALITY  OF  THE  SOUL. 


NOTES  ON  THE  IMMORTALITY  OF  THE  SOUL. 


HE  account  which  the  Scriptures  give  us  of  the  Immor- 
taHty  of  man,  is  very  exact.  They  inform  us  that  man 
was  created  by  God  and  placed  in  a  condition  which 
insured  to  him,  if  he  had  retained  that  condition,  both 
a  blessed  and  an  immortal  existence  :  that  by  his  own  fault 
he  lost  that  condition,  and  with  it  the  blessedness  of  immor- 
tality, and  as  a  result  became  subject  to  temporal,  spiritual  and 
eternal  death. 

But  even  this  eternal  death  involves  the  idea  of  an  eternal  being. 
In  the  meantime,  it  pleased  God  not  to  leave  man  in  this  wretched 
condition,  but  to  deliver  him  from  it,  by  bestowing  upon  him  an 
immortal  existence  of  blessedness,  after  his  body  had  risen  from 
the  grave  and  been  united  to  his  soul. 

This  gives  us,  then,  the  distinct  conception  of  the  positive  im- 
mortality of  man  :  the  immortality  of  each  one  of  us,  soul  and  body^ 
personally  and  absolutely  ;  so  that  we  shall  continue  to  be  in  eter- 
nity, the  very  being  that  each  one  of  us  was  here  on  earth.  The 
preservation  of  our  personal  identity  throughout  our  future  conscious 
existence,  is  an  indispensable  condition  to  every  conception  of  an 
immortality,  that  shall  be  for  us  either  a  reward  or  a  punishment, 
either  a  good  or  evil.  But  that  preservation  immortally  of  our  per- 
sonal identity  and  conscious  existence  is  impossible,  except  we  be 
immortal  both  in  soul  and  body.  An  immortality  that  has  no 
moral  quality,  or  in  which  no  distinctions  exist,  or  in  which  moral 


go  FUTURE   rUNlSIIMENT. 

qualities  are  confounded  and  moral  distinctions  disregarded,  is  con- 
tradictory to  the  nature  of  God  as  a  moral  ruler,  incompatible  with 
the  nature  of  man  as  a  moral  and  accountable  creature,  and  there- 
fore impossible  and  absurd. 

It  is  immaterial  how  many  mutations  the  soul  and  the  body 
may  pass  through  :  or  how  long  or  how  ofteii  they  may  be  united 
or  separated,  in  passing  through  those  mutations.  The  real  ques- 
tion is  only  as  to  the  final  and  eternal  state.  It  is  also  immaterial 
what  that  final  and  eternal  state  may  be,  as  a  state  of  woe  or  bliss, 
only  that  it  be  the  just  result,  and  to  the  very  same  person,  whose 
conscious  and  identical  existence  is  thus  eternally  continued.  The 
great  point  is  that  man,  created,  fallen,  redeemed,  dead,  risen  and 
saved  or  lost,  with  a  soul  and  body,  is  immortal,  and  will  be  eter- 
nally wretched  or  eternally  blessed. 

There  is  no  means  by  which  we  could  arrive  at  the  certainty  of 
the  annihilation  of  that  soul,  except  by  a  divine  revelation,  and 
there  is  no  such  revelation.  But  except  by  annihilation,  there  is  no 
means  known  to  us  by  which  an  immaterial  soul,  any  more  than  a 
particle  of  matter,  could  cease  to  exist.  Therefore  no  soul  will 
cease  to  exist,  but  all  of  them  will  live  for  ever.  Nor  is  there  any 
way  in  which  we  can  conceive  of  the  annihilation  of  the  human 
body,  any  more  than  of  an  immaterial  soul  (the  indestructibility  of 
matter  and  the  resurrection  of  the  body  being  granted),  except  by 
a  direct  act  of  God's  omnipotent  power,  which  is  incapable  of  belief, 
except  upon  his  own  declaration,  and  he  has  made  no  such  declar- 
ation. Therefore  every  human  body  shall  exist  for  ever.  In  virtue, 
therefore,  of  the  nature  of  man's  existence,  the  union  of  a  reasonable 
soul  with  a  material  body,  there  remains  no  method  of  preventing 
the  personal  and  continued  self-conscious  existence  of  each  indi- 
vidual man,  except  by  separating  eternally  his  soul  from  his  bod\', 
and  thus  destroying  his  continued,  identical  existence. 

Even  upon  the  supposition  of  Atheism  itself,  it  is  not  possible 
to  prove  that  man  is  not  immortal  ;  nor  even  to  render  probable 


NOTES    ON    IMMORTALITY.  9 1 

that  he  is  not.     For,  even  supposing  that  there  is  no  God,  it  is  still 
certain  that  we  exist,  and  if  we  exist  here,  and  as   we  are,  without 
any  God,  there  is  no  reason  why  we  may  not  exist  hereafter  also, 
without  any  God,      If  man   be  supposed  to  have  an  independent 
existence,  without  means  exterior  to  himself,  then  the  end  and  the 
means  of  his  existence  are  in  and  from  himself,  and  his  annihilation 
is  impossible  in  the  very  nature  of  the  case.     It  is  no  answer  to  this 
to  say,  that  death  puts  an  end  lo  his  existence  ;  for  there  are  thous- 
ands of  creatures  around  us,  all  inferior  to  ourselves,  to  whose  ex- 
istence death  appears  to  put  an  end,  and  yet  after  a  while  we  behold 
them  revive  in  new  forms,  and  pass  through  various  mutations,  and 
at  length  recur  again  as  they  were  before   their  death.     Nor  is  it 
any  answer  to  say,  that  as  yet  we   have  not  seen  this  occur  with 
man.     For,  we  do  not  know  except  by  Revelation,  what  may  have 
occurred  to  the  souls  of  the  dead,  and  therefore  to  say  they  are 
extinct  is  the  very  silliest  thing  we  could  say.     If  then,  upon  the 
very  strongest  hypothesis  that  favors  the  annihilation   of  man,  his 
immortality  can  be  shown  to  be  not  only  probable,  but  apparently 
inevitable  ;  it  follows,  that  as  soon  as  the  hypothesis  is  robbed  of 
its  whole  force,  the  force  of  truth,  which  it  was  destined  to  subvert 
(the  immortality  of  the  soul),  becomes  proportionately  greater  and 
more  certain. 

Let  us  settle  it,  therefore,  in  our  hearts  that  we  have,  and  will 
eternally  have,  a  personal,  separate,  self-conscious,  identical  exist- 
ence of  soul  and  body  ;  the  very  soul  which  this  day  lives  and 
struggles  within  the  very  body  is  to  be  united  with  it  to  all 
eternity  ;  there  is  for  us  a  proper  immortality,  inconceivably  glori- 
ous or  shameful,  the  first  steps  of  which  we  are  already  treading, 
and  the  whole  complexion  of  which  will  be  irrevocably  determined, 
as  we  shall  run  and  finish  this  first  and  briefest  portion  of  our 
course,  with  sorrow  or  with  joy." — REV.  ROBERT  J.  Brecken- 
RIDGE,  D.  D.,  L  L.  D.,   (Kentucky,  U.  S.) 

"  We  do  not  argue  immortality  from  our  physical  constitution. 
On  the  other  hand,  this  in  itself  and  in  its  affinities  is  strictly  mortal, 


92  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

giving  no  promise  beyond  the  present.  Nor  can  we  any  more  shape 
a  rational  expectation  of  future  Hfc  from  anything  which  wc  are 
pleased  to  term  the  essence  of  the  human  soul.  Our  ignorance  here 
is  too  profound  to  give  our  thought  any  footing.  We  infer  immor- 
tality from  our  rational  constitution,  taken  with  the  character  of 
God.  If  there  is  no  spirit  in  man,  if  it  is  not  the  inspiration  of  the 
Almighty  that  giveth  man  understanding,  then  assuredly  he  will 
perish  like  the  flowers,  and  no  beauty  will  be  any  protection  to  him. 
Negatively,  however,  science  has  nothing  of  any  moment  to  say 
against  immortality.  It  finds,  it  is  true,  no  proof  for  it  in  its  own 
field,  but  from  the  very  nature  of  the  case  it  should  not.  Nor  is 
there  any  rational  presumption  against  immortality,  save  to  those 
who  make  human  experience  a  test  of  all  possibilities.  Its  condi- 
tions, indeed,  are  inconceivable,  but  the  reason  of  this  is  obvious. 
A  life  unlike  our  present  life  has  no  common  terms  in  experience 
with  it,  and  hence  is  inconceivable.  The  mystery  of  that  future 
life,  when  it  shall  become  a  fact,  will  not  be  greater  than  of  this  life. 
Existence  then  will  be  somewhat  less  strange  than  existence  now, 
for  it  will  have  an  explanatory  term  back  of  it,  which  this  life  lacks. 
I.  The  first  support  for  the  doctrine  of  immortality  is  found  in 
our  spiritual  constitution.  The  life  of  man,  when  it  is  brought  to  an 
end  ill  death,  is  manifestly  not  exhausted  in  its  intellectual  and 
spiritual  resources.  The  life  of  the  animal  is  so  rounded  in  by 
physical  conditions  as  to  wax  and  wane  with  them.  Man's  higher 
powers,  on  the  other  hand,  are  capable  of  indefinite  growth.  These 
faculties  of  man  are  profoundly  fitted  for  a  further  unfolding,  and 
so  indicate  an  intellectual  purpose,  and  raise  a  moral  demand  in 
reference  to  it.  Here  are  germs  to  which  a  future  life  is  a  correla- 
tive opportunity  of  development.  The  spiritual  unrest  of  man  is  a 
fruit  of  the  range  of  unsatisfied  powers.  He  will  not,  in  his  hopes 
and  aims,  readily  settle  down  into  the  narrow  circuit  of  his  physical 
life,  and  so  far  as  he  does  this  he  is  injured  by  the  concession.  All 
his  lifting  forces  look  toward  immortality  ;  an   irrepressible  migra- 


NOTES   ON    IMMORTALITY.  93 

tory  impulse  is  in  him,  the  product  of  his  combined  powers.  In 
spite  of  physical  decay,  it  is  often  manifest  that  Hfe  closes  at  a 
maximum  of  spiritual  energy.  Thus,  as  Ranke  says  :  "  In  every 
great  life  there  comes  a  moment  when  the  soul  feels  that  it  no 
longer  lives  in  the  present  world,  and  draws  back  from  it."  This 
feeling  does  not  arise  from  the  decay  of  life,  but  from  its  weariness 
with  conditions  that  are  too  slow  for  it,  and  which,  in  their  exciting 
form,  it  has  relatively  exhausted. 

The  whole  object  of  evolution,  the  consummated  labor  of  a  life, 
will  be  lost  without  immortality.  None  of  us  are  willing  to  take 
the  present  as  the  best  term  in  evolution.  If  the  rational  fruits  of 
the  world  are  to  be  ripened  they  must  be  ripened  in  another  life. 
Such  a  life  is  the  out-door  garden  of  this  our  conservatory.  Who, 
sither  in  his  thought  or  feeling,  can  say  there  is  no  other  air,  no 
higher  heavens,  in  which  these  plants  can  blossom  ;  nothing  save 
this  stifled  air  and  this  glass  within  reach  of  my  hand  !  Nor  is  the 
protest  less  profoundly  rational,  less  deeply  based  in  our  constitu- 
tion, because  it  is  deeply  emotional. 

2.  The  moral  law  is  an  unsuitable  law  for  the  guidance  of  a  simply 
mortal  life.  It  is  one  of  self-sacrifice,  it  is  one  of  protracted  strug- 
gle, one  of  constant  concession  of  pleasure  to  duty,  of  the  present 
to  the  future.  Now,  if  there  is  no  future  life,  such  a  law  is  out  of 
sorts.  No  man  can  well  accept  the  moral  law  as  one  of  spiritual 
insight,  and  not  feel  at  once  that  the  years  of  eternity  must  be 
given  to  it,  in  which  to  clear  itself ;  that  a  long  day  of  fulfilment 
and  peace  is  to  follow  and  level  up  the  end  with  the  beginning.  If 
this  future  drops  them  into  oblivion,  what  then  ?  They  have  played 
the  part,  on  the  highest  stage  of  the  world,  of  a  moral  maniac. 

Those  who  most  staunchly  hold  fast  to  immortality,  do  it  by 
virtue  of  the  force  of  their  spiritual  powers.  It  is  easy  to  ridicule 
this  argument,  as  if  it  involved  the  assertion  that  the  existence  of 
a  belief  and  the  strength  of  a  belief  prove  its  truth.  The  univer- 
sality and  force  of  a  belief  do  imply  some  occasion  for  it.     Beliefs 


94  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

are  fiicts,  are  effects,  and  have  causes.  The  only  proof  we  have  of 
any  truth,  is  in  ultimate  analysis,  this  same  universality  and  per- 
tinacity of  conviction.  The  impulse  toward  immortality,  and  the 
impulse  in  turn  received  from  it,  are  very  general  in  our  race.  But 
this  impulse  in  men  exists  in  its  strongest,  clearest  form  as  they 
enlarge  their  spiritual  powers,  and  in  turn  expands  and  nourishes 
those  powers. 

3.  This  leads  us  to  our  last  argument,  and  one  which,  in  a  measure, 
includes  all  the  others.  Immortality  is  the  third  word  in  the  vocab- 
ulary of  belief:  Spirit,  God,  Immortality.  A  spirit,  an  Infinite 
Spirit,  an  eternal  fellowship  of  spirits,  this  is  the  rational  relation  of 
ideas.  A  belief  in  immortality  is  the  second  highest  expression  of 
faith,  and  faith  is  the  force  of  our  spiritual  life. 

We  believe  that  the  plan  of  God  requires  this  completion  of 
immortality.  The  present  confusion  and  discord  of  the  world  in 
its  moral  facts  are  very  plain.  Immortality  can  plainly  bring  new 
light,  new  breadth,  new  fitness  to  these  cramped  and  distorted 
moral  facts.  The  truthfulness  of  God,  the  imperturbable  support 
of  faith,  calls  for  immortality.  The  wise  and  kind  parent  is  careful 
not  to  allow  any  deep,  earnest  desire,  any  pregnant  hope,  to  be 
awakened  in  the  mind  of  the  child,  which  cannot  find  fulfilment. 
The  love  of  God  toward  man  leads  to  the  same  conclusion.  Man 
seems  spiritually  capable  of  future  life  ;  he  covets  it,  he  shapes  his 
action  in  reference  to  it ;  he  is  lifted  by  this  hope  ;  he  is  restrained 
from  evil  and  united  to  virtue.  What  other  result  can  divine  love 
grant,  then,  save  this  of  immortality?  The  love  of  God  for  man 
would  lose  all  high  quality,  would  be  like  that  which  we  have  for 
t'.ie  flowers  of  a  single  season,  if  the  years  are  to  sweep  him  quickly 
away,  and  that,  too,  before  he  has  reached  his  flowering.  Nor  can 
man  on  these  terms  be  properly  called  into  any  communion  with 
God.  We  must  ever  stand  as  passing  strangers  about  the  threshold 
of  the  temple,  or  in  its  outer  courts.  That  God  having  embraced 
man   in   this   fellowship  of  love,  should  relax  his  hold,  is  a  moral 


NOTES   ON    IMMORTALITY.  95 

contradiction.  Having  begun  such  a  work  as  this,  he  must  needs 
carry  it  on  to  perfection.  Having  commenced  a  discipline,  he  will 
not  arrest  it ;  having  drawn  forth  love,  he  will  not  fling  it  away  ; 
having  bestowed  love,  he  will  not  withdraw  it.  The  pledge  of  the 
'  Divine  nature,'  in  his  full  spiritual  force,  is  set  as  a  seal  to  the  im- 
mortality of  the  good — that  '  where  I  am  there  ye  may  be  also.' 
Death  must  remain  the  most  melancholy  fact  conceivable  in  its 
spiritual  bearings,  if  no  life  follows  after  it.  There  is  no  pallor  like 
the  pallor  of  the  grave,  no  knell  like  the  knell  of  the  tomb,  when 
affection  buries  its  dead.  Death  stands  as  a  victor  over  life  ;  light 
ends  in  darkness  ;  and  the  shadows  of  vanished  pleasures  only 
swell  the  sad  retinue  whose  voice  is  a  dirge.  Whatever  we  may 
seem  to  make  of  the  world  under  the  '  divine  wisdom  '  in  it,  the 
fact  of  death  still  fills  it  with  fear  and  silence  ;  for  every  spirit  that 
has  tasted  life  must  take  its  solitary  way  back  again  to  the  regions 
of  night.  One  word  alters  all,  explains  all,  illuminates  all,  and  that 
word  is  Immortality. — PRESIDENT  JOHN  Bascom,  (University  of 
Wisconsin,  Madison,  Wis.) 

The  apparent  -futility  that  has  attended  all  efforts  to  prove  the 
immortality  of  man,  springs  largely  from  the  fact  that  a  sense  of 
immortality  is  an  achievement  in  morals,  and  not  an  inference 
drawn  by  logical  processes  from  the  nature  of  things.  It  is  not  a 
demonstration  to,  or  by,  the  reason,  but  a  conviction  gained  through 
the  spirit  in  the  process  of  human  life.  All  truth  is  an  achieve- 
ment. If  you  would  have  truth  at  its  full  value,  go  win  it.  If  there 
is  any  truth  whose  value  lies  in  a  moral  process,  it  must  be  sought 
by  that  process.  Other  avenues  will  prove  hard  and  uncertain,  and 
will  stop  short  of  the  goal.  Eternal  wisdom  seems  to  say  :  If  you 
would  find  immortal  life,  seek  it  in  human  life  ;  look  neither  into 
the  heavens  nor  the  earth,  but  into  your  own  heart  as  it  fulfils  the 
duty  of  present  existence.  We  are  not  mere  minds  for  seeing  and 
hearing  truth,  but  beings  set  in  a  real  world  to  achieve  it.  This  is 
the  secret  of  creation. 


9'5  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

But  ii  demonstration  cannot  yield  a  full  sense  of  immortality,  it 
does  not  follow  that  discussion  and  evidence  are  without  value. 
Mind  is  auxiliary  to  spirit,  and  intellectual  conviction  may  help 
moral  belief.  Doubts  may  be  so  heavy  as  to  cease  to  be  incentives, 
and  become  burdens.  If  there  are  any  hints  of  immortality  in  the 
world  or  in  the  nature  of  man,  we  may  welcome  them.  If  there  are 
denials  of  it  that  lose  their  force  under  inspection,  we  may  clear  our 
minds  of  them,  for  so  we  shall  be  freer  to  work  out  the  only  dem- 
onstration that  will  satisfy  us. 

How  did  the  idea  of  immortality  come  into  the  world  ?  It  can- 
not be  linked  with  the  early  superstitions  that  sprang  out  of  the 
childhood  of  the  race, — with  fetichism  and  polytheism  and  image- 
worship  ;  nor  is  it  akin  to  the  early  thought  that  personified  and 
dramatized  the  forces  of  nature,  and  so  built  up  the  great  mytholo- 
gies. These  were  the  first  rude  efforts  of  men  to  find  a  cause  of 
things,  and  to  connect  it  with  themselves  in  ways  of  worship  and 
propitiation.  But  the  idea  of  immortality  had  no  such  genesis. 
Men  worshiped  and  propitiated  long  before  they  attained  to  a  clear 
conception  of  a  future  life.  A  forecasting  shadow  of  it  may  have 
hung  over  the  early  races  ;  a  voice  not  fully  articulate  may  have 
uttered  some  syllable  of  it,  but  the  doctrine  of  personal  immortality 
belongs  to  a  later  age.  It  grew  into  the  consciousness  of  the  world 
with  the  growth  of  man,  and  marked  in  its  advent  the  stage  of 
human  history,  when  man  began  to  recognize  the  dignity  of  his 
nature.  It  does  not  belong  to  the  childhood  of  the  race,  nor  can  it 
be  classed  with  the  dreams  and  guesses  in  which  ignorance  sought 
refuge,  nor  with  the  superstitions  through  which  men  strove  to  ally 
themselves  with  nature  and  its  powers.  It  came  with  the  full  con- 
sciousness of  selfhood,  and  is  the  product  of  man's  full  and  ripe 
thought ;  it  is  not  only  not  allied  with  the  early  superstitions,  but 
is  the  reversal  of  them.  These,  in  their  last  analysis,  confessed 
man's  subjection  to  nature  and  its  powers,  and  shaped  themselves 
into  forms  of  expiation  and  propitiation  ;  they  implied  a  low  and 


NOTES    ON    IMMORTALITY.  97 

feeble  sense  of  his  nature,  and  turned  on  his  condition  rather  than 
on  his  nature — on  a  sense  of  the  external  world,  and  not  on  a  per- 
ception of  himself  But  the  assertion  of  immortality  is  a  triumph 
over  nature — a  denial  of  its  forces.  Man  marches  to  the  head  and 
says  :  "  I  too  am  to  be  considered  ;  I  also  am  a  power  ;  I  may  be 
under  the  gods,  but  I  claim  for  myself  their  destiny  ;  I  am  allied  to 
nature,  but  I  am  its  head,  and  will  no  longer  confess  myself  to  be 
its  slave."  The  fact  of  such  an  origin  should  not  only  separate  it 
from  the  superstitions,  where  of  late  there  has  been  a  tendency  to 
rank  it,  but  secure  for  it  a  large  and  generous  place  in  the  world  of 
speculative  thought.  We  should  hesitate  before  we  contradict  the 
convictions  of  any  age  that  wear  these  double  signs  of  development 
and  resistance  ;  nor  should  we  treat  lightly  any  lofty  assertions  that 
man  may  make  of  himself,  especially  when  those  assertions  link 
themselves  with  truths  of  well-being  and  evident  duty. 

The  idea  of  immortality,  thus  achieved,  naturally  allies  itself  to 
religion,  for  a  high  conception  of  humanity  is  in  itself  religious.  It 
built  itself  into  the  foundations  of  Christianity.  It  is  of  one  sub- 
stance with  Christianity — having  the  same  conception  of  man  ;  it 
runs  along  with  every  duty  and  doctrine,  tallying  at  every  point  ; 
it  is  the  inspiration  of  the  system  ;  each  names  itself  by  one  syno- 
nym— life.  Lodged  thus  in  the  conviction  of  the  civilized  world, 
the  doctrine  of  immortality  met  with  no  serious  resistance  until  it 
encountered  modern  science.  When  modern  science — led  by  the 
principle  of  induction — transferred  the  thought  of  men  from  specu- 
lation to  the  physical  world,  and  said,  "  Let  us  get  at  the  facts  ;  let 
us  find  out  what  our  five  senses  reveal  to  us,"  then  immortality  came 
under  question  simply  because  science  could  find  no  data  for  it. 
Science,  as  such,  deals  only  with  gases,  fluids  and  solids,  with  length 
breadth  and  thickness.  In  such  a  domain,  and  amongst  such  phe- 
nomena no  hint  even  of  future  existence  can  be  found,  and  sciciice 
could  only  say,  "  I  find  no  report  of  it." 

We  do  not  to-day  regret  that  science  held  itself  so  rigidly  to  its 
field  and  its  principles  of  induction — that  it  refused  to  leap  chasms. 


98  FUTURE   rUNlSIIMEXT. 

and  to  let  in  guesses  for  the  sake  of  morals.  But  science  has  its 
phases  and  its  progress.  It  held  itself  to  its  prescribed  task  of 
searching  matter  until  it  eluded  its  touch  in  the  form  of  simple 
force — leaving  it,  so  to  speak,  empty-handed.  It  had  got  a  little 
deeper  into  the  heavens  with  its  lenses,  and  gone  a  little  farther  into 
matter  with  its  retorts,  but  it  had  come  no  nearer  the  nature  of 
things  than  it  was  at  the  outset,  no  nearer  to  an  answer  of  those 
imperative  questions  which  the  human  mind  will  ask  until  they  arc 
answered — Whence  ?  How  ?  For  what  ?  Not  what  I  shall  eat 
and  how  I  shall  be  clothed,  but  what  is  the  meaning  of  the  world  ? 
explain  me  to  myself ;  tell  me  what  sort  of  a  being  I  am — how  I 
came  to  be  here,  and  for  what  end.  Such  are  the  questions  that 
men  are  forever  repeating  to  themselves,  and  casting  upon  the  wise 
for  a  possible  answer.  When  chemistry  put  the  key  of  the  physical 
universe  into  the  hand  of  science,  it  was  well  enough  to  give  up  a 
century  to  the  dazzling  picture  it  revealed.  A  century  of  concen- 
trated and  universal  gaze  at  the  world  out  of  whose  dust  we  are 
made,  and  whose  forces  play  in  the  throbs  of  our  hearts,  is  not  too 
much  ;  but  after  having  sat  so  long  before  the  brilliant  play  of 
elemental  flames,  and  seen  ourselves  reduced  to  simple  gas  and 
force  under  laws  for  whose  strength  adamant  is  no  measure,  we 
have  become  a  little  restive  and  take  up  again  the  old  questions. 
Science  has  not  explained  us  to  ourselves,  nor  compassed  us  in  its 
retort,  nor  measured  us  in  its  law  of  continuity.  You  have  shown 
me  of  what  I  am  made,  how  put  together,  and  linked  my  action  to 
the  invariable  energy  of  the  universe  ;  now  tell  me  what  I  am  ; 
explain  to  me  consciousness,  will,  thought,  desire,  love,  veneration. 
I  confess  myself  to  be  all  you  say,  but  I  know  myself  to  be  more  ; 
tell  me  what  that  more  is.  Science,  in  its  early  and  wisely  narrov/ 
sense,  could  not  respond  to  these  demands.  But  it  has  enlarged  its 
vocation  under  two  impulses.  It  has  pushed  its  researches  until  it 
has  reached  verges  beyond  which  it  cannot  go,  yet  sees  forces  and 
phenomena  that  it  cannot  explain  nor  even  speak  of  without  using 


NOTES   ON   IMMORTALITY.  99 

the  nomenclature  of  metaphysics.  Physical  science  has  yielded  to 
the  necessity  of  allying  itself  with  other  sciences.  All  sciences  are 
parts  of  one  universal  science.  The  chemist  sits  down  by  the  meta- 
physician and  says,  Tell  me  what  you  know  about  consciousness  ; 
and  the  theologian  listens  eagerly  to  the  story  of  evolution.  Unless 
we  greatly  misread  the  temper  of  recent  science,  it  is  ready  to  pass 
over  certain  phenomena  it  has  discovered  and  questions  it  has 
raised  to  theology,  and  is  ready  to  accept  a  report  from  any  who 
can  aid  it  in  its  exalted  studies.  This  comity  between  the  sciences 
insures  a  recognition  of  each  other's  conclusions.  Whatever  is  true 
in  one  must  be  true  in  all.  Whatever  is  necessary  to  the  perfection 
of  one  cannot  be  ruled  out  of  another.  No  true  physiologist  will 
define  the  physical  man  so  as  to  exclude  the  social  man  ;  nor  will 
he  so  define  the  social  and  political  man  as  to  shut  out  the  spiritual 
man  ;  nor  will  he  so  define  the  common  humanity  as  to  exclude 
personality.  He  will  leave  a  margin  for  other  sciences  whose  claims 
are  as  valid  as  those  of  his  own.  If,  for  example,  immortality  is  a 
necessary  coordinate  of  man's  moral  nature, — an  evident  part  of  its 
content, — the  chemist  and  physiologist  will  not  set  it  aside  because 
they  find  no  report  of  it  in  their  fields.  If  it  is  a  part  of  spiritual 
and  moral  science,  it  cannot  be  rejected  because  it  is  not  found  in 
physical  science.  *  ***** 

But  this  negative  attitude  of  natural  science  toward  immortality 
does  not  by  any  means  describe  its  relation  to  the  great  doctrine. 
While  it  has  taught  us  to  distrust  immortality,  because  it  could 
show  us  no  appearance  of  it,  it  has  provided  us  with  a  broader  prin- 
ciple that  undoes  its  work,  —  namely,  the  principle  of  reversing 
appearances.  Once  men  said,  This  is  as  it  appears  ;  to-day  they 
say,  The  reality  is  not  according  to  the  first  appearance,  but  is  pro- 
bably the  reverse.  The  sky  seems  solid  ;  the  sun  seems  to  move  ; 
the  earth  seems  to  be  at  rest,  and  to  be  flat.  Science  has  reversed 
these  appearances  and  beliefs.  Matter  seems  to  be  solid  and  at 
rest ;  it  is  shown  to  be  the  contrary.     The  energy  of  an  active  agent 


lOO  FUTUKli    I'UNISllMEN  r. 

seems  to  end  with  disorganization,  but  it  really  passes  into  another 
form.  So  it  is  throughout.  The  appearance  in  nature  is  nearly 
always,  not  false,  but  illusive,  and  our  first  interpretations  of  natural 
phenomena  usually  are  the  reverse  of  the  reality.  Of  course  this 
must  be  so  ;  it  is  the  wisdom  of  creation — the  secret  of  the  world  ; 
else  knowledge  would  be  immediate  and  without  process,  and  a  man 
a  mere  eye  for  seeing.  Nature  puts  the  reality  at  a  distance  and 
hides  it  behind  a  veil,  and  it  is  the  office  of  mind  in  its  relation  to 
matter  to  penetrate  the  distance  and  get  behind  the  veil  ;  and  to 
make  the  process  valuable  in  the  highest  degree,  this  feature  of 
contrariety  is  put  into  nature.  The  human  mind  tends  to  rest  in 
the  first  appearance  ;  science — more  than  any  other  teacher — tells 
it  that  it  may  not.  But  it  is  this  premature  confidence  in  first 
appearance  that  induces  skepticism  of  immortality.  No  one  wishes 
to  doubt  it ;  our  inmost  souls  plead  for  it ;  our  higher  nature  dis- 
dains a  denial  of  it  as  ignoble.  No  poet,  no  lofty  thinker  suffers 
the  eclipse  of  it  to  fall  upon  his  page,  but  many  a  poet  and  thinker 
is — nay,  are  we  not  all  ? — tormented  by  a  horrible  uncertainty  cast 
by  the  appearance  of  dissolving  nature,  and  rcenforced  by  the  black 
silence  of  science  ?  The  heavens  are  empty  ;  the  earth  is  resolving 
back  to  fire-mist ;  what  theater  is  there  for  living  man  ?  Brought 
together  out  of  nature,  sinking  back  into  nature, — has  man  any 
other  history?  What,  also,  is  so  absolute  in  its  appearance  as 
death  ?  How  silent  are  the  generations  behind  us.  How  fast  locked 
is  the  door  of  the  grave.  How  speechless  the  speaking  lips  ;  how 
sightless  the  seeing  eye  ;  how  still  the  m.oving  form.  Touch  the 
cold  hand  ;  cry  to  the  ear  ;  crown  the  brow  with  weed  or  with 
flower — they  are  alike  to  it.  It  is  an  awful  appearance  ;  is  it  abso- 
lute— final?  Say  what  we  will,  here  is  the  source  of  the  dread  mis- 
giving that  haunts  the  mind  of  the  age.  Science  has  helped  to 
create  it,  but  it  also  has  discovered  its  antidote.  The  minister  of 
faith  stands  by  this  horrible  appearance  and  says  :  "  Not  here,  but 
risen."     He  might  well  be  joined  by  the  priest  of  science  with  words 


NOTES    ON    IMMORTALITY.  Id 

like  these  :  "  My  vocation  is  to  wrest  truth  out  of  ilkisive  appear- 
ances. I  do  not  find  what  you  claim  ;  I  find,  instead,  an  appear- 
ance of  the  contrary  ;  but  on  that  very  principle  you  may  be  right  ; 
the  truth  is  generally  the  reverse  of  the  appearance."  To  break 
away  from  the  appearance  of  death — this  is  the  imperative  need  ; 
and  whatever  science  may  say  in  detail,  its  larger  work  and  also  its 
method  justify  us  in  the  effort.  Hence  the  need  of  the  imaginative 
eye  and  of  noble  thought.  Men  of  lofty  imagination  are  seldom 
deceived  by  death,  surmounting  more  easily  the  illusions  of  sense. 
Victor  Hugo  probably  knows  far  less  of  science  than  do  Buchner 
and  Vogt,  but  he  knows  a  thousand  things  they  have  not  dreamed 
of,  which  invest  their  science  like  an  atmosphere,  and  turn  its  rays 
in  directions    unknown    to    them. 

Are  we  to  be  limited  in  our  thought  and  belief  by  the  dicta 
of  natural  science?  In  accounting  for  all  things,  are  we  shut  up  to 
matter  and  force  and  their  phenomena?  Science  as  positivism 
says  :  Yes,  because  matter  and  force  are  all  we  know,  or  can  know. 
Another  school  says  boldly  :  Matter  and  force  account  for  all  things 
— thought,  and  wiii,  and  consciousness  ;  a  position  denied  by  still 
another  school,  which  admits  the  existence  of  something  else,  but 
claims  that  it  is  unknowable.  If  any  one  of  these  positions  is  ad- 
mitted, the  question  we  are  considering  is  an  idle  one,  so  far  as 
demonstration  is  concerned  ;  it  is  even  decided  in  the  negative.  The 
antagonist  to  these  positions  is  metaphysics.  Faith  may  surmount> 
but  it  cannot  confute  them  without  the  aid  of  philosophy.  Science 
is  speechless  before  several  fundamental  questions  that  itself  has 
put  into  the  mouth  of  Philosophy.  Science  begins  with  matter  in 
a  homogeneous  state  of  diffusion, — that  is,  at  rest  and  without 
action,  either  eternally  so,  or  as  the  result  of  exhausted  force.  Now, 
whence  comes  force  ?  Science  has  no  answer  except  such  as  is 
couched  under  the  phrase  "  an  unknowable  cause,"  which  is  a  con- 
tradiction of  terms,  since  a  cause  with  a  visible  result  is  so  far  forth 
known.     Again,  there  are  mathematical  formulae,  or  thought,  in  the 


102  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

stars,  and  in  matter,  as  in  cr\^stalHzation.  Tiic  law  or  thought  of 
jjravitation  necessarily  goes  before  its  action.  What  is  the  origin  of 
this  law  as  it  begins  to  act  ? — and  why  does  it  begin  to  act  in  matter 
at  rest  ? — a  double  question,  to  which  science  renders  no  answer. 
Again,  Evolution,  as  interpreted  by  all  the  better  schools  of  science, 
admits  teleology,  or  an  end  in  view  ;  and  the  end  is  humanity.  But 
the  teleological  end  was  present  when  the  nebulous  matter  first 
began  to  move.  In  what  did  this  purpose  then  reside  ? — in  the  nebu- 
lous matter,  or  in  some  mind  outside  of  matter  and  capable  of  the  con- 
ception of  man  ?  Again,  how  do  you  pass  from  functional  action  of 
the  brain  to  consciousness  ?  Science  does  not  undertake  to  answer, 
but  confesses  that  the  chasm  is  impassable  from  its  side.  What,  then, 
shall  we  do  with  the  fact  and  phenomena  of  consciousness  ?  Again, 
what  right  has  science,  knowing  nothing  of  the  origin  of  force,  and 
therefore  not  understanding  its  full  nature, — what  right  has  it  to 
limit  its  action  and  its  potentiality  to  the  lunctional  play  of  an 
organism?  As  science  it  can,  of  course,  go  no  farther;  you  test 
and  measure  matter  by  mind  ;  but  if  matter  is  inclusive  of  mind, 
how  can  matter  be  tested  and  measured  by  it  ?  It  is  one  clod  or 
crystal  analyzing  another  ;  it  is  getting  into  the  scales  along  with 
the  thing  you  would  weigh. 

These  are  specimens  of  the  questions  that  philosophy  puts  to 
science.  These  questions  are  universal  and  imperative.  No  further 
word  of  denial  or  assertion  can  be  spoken  until  they  are  answered. 
And  as  science  does  not  answer  them,  philosophy  undertakes  to  do 
so,  and  its  answer  is — Theism.  The  universe  requires  a  creating 
mind  ;  it  rests  on  mind  and  power.  Metaphysics  holds  the  field, 
and  on  its  triumphant  banner  is  the  name  of  God.  Science  might 
also  be  pressed  into  close  quarters  as  to  the  nature  of  this  thing 
that  it  calls  MATTER,  which  it  thinks  it  can  see  and  feel ;  and  how 
it  sees  and  feels  it,  it  does  not  know.  Science  itself  has  led  up  to 
a  point  where  matter,  and  not  God,  becomes  the  unknowable.  A 
little  further  struggle  through  this  tangle  of  matter,  and  we  may 


NOTES   ON    IMMORTALITY.  IO3 

stand  on  a  "  peak  of  Darien  "  in  "  wild  surmise ''  before  the  ocean 
of  the  Spirit. 

The  final  word  which  the  philosophical  man  within  us  addresses 
to  our  scientific  man  is  this  :  Stop  when  you  come  to  what  seems 
to  you  to  be  an  end  of  man  ;  and  for  this  imperative  reason,  namely, 
you  do  not  claim  that  you  have  compassed  him  ;  you  find  in  him 
that  which  you  cannot  explain — som.ething  that  lies  back  of  energy 
and  function,  and  is  the  cause  or  ground  of  the  play  of  function. 
You  admit  consciousness  ;  you  admit  that  while  thought  depends 
upon  tissue,  it  is  not  tissue  nor  the  action  of  tissue,  and  therefore 
may  have  some  other  ground  of  action  ;  you  admit  an  impassable 
chasm  between  brain-action  and  consciousness.  What  right  has 
science  as  science  to  leap  that  chasm  with  a  negative  in  his  hand  ? 
And  why  should  science  object  to  attempts  to  bridge  the  chasm 
from  the  other  side  ?  Physical  science  has  left  unexplained  phen- 
omena ;  may  no  other  science  take  them  up  ?  Science  has  left  an 
entity — a  something  that  it  has  felt  but  could  not  grasp,  just  as  it 
has  felt  but  could  not  grasp  the  ether.  May  not  the  science  that 
gave  to  physics  the  ether  try  its  hand  at  this  unexplained  remain- 
der? Let  us  have,  then,  no  negative  assertions  ;  this  is  the  big<;try 
of  science.  But  a  generous-minded  science  will  pass  over  this  m)'s- 
tery  to  psychology,  or  to  metaphysics,  or  to  theology.  If  it  is  a 
substance,  it  has  laws.  If  it  is  a  force  or  a  life,  it  has  an  environ- 
ment and  a  correspondence.  If  it  is  mind  and  spirit,  it  has  a  men- 
tal and  spiritual  environment ;  and  if  the  correspondence  is  perfect 
and  the  environment  ample  enough,  this  mind  and  spirit  may  have 
a  commensurate  history.  This  is  logical,  and  also  probable,  even 
on  the  ground  of  science,  for  all  its  analogies  indicate  and  sustain 
it.  My  conclusion  is  this  :  Until  natural  science  can  answer  these 
questions  put  by  other  sciences,  it  has  no  right  to  assume  the  solu- 
tion of  the  problem  of  immortality,  because  this  question  lies  within 
the  domain  of  the  unanswered  questions. 

But  has  science  no  positive  word  to  offer?  The  seeming  antag- 
onist of  immortality  during  its  earlier  studies  of  evolution,  it  now 


lot  FUTURL    I'LNISIl.MLNT. 

scc'-n^,  in  its  later  studies,  about  to  become  an  ally.  It  siiclclcnly 
discovered  that  man  was  in  the  category  of  the  brutes  and  of  the 
whole  previous  order  of  development.  It  is  now  more  than  sus- 
pecting that,  although  in  that  order,  he  stands  in  a  relation  to  it 
that  forbids  his  being  merged  in  it,  and  exempts  him  from  a  full 
action  of  its  laws,  and  therefore  presumably  from  its  destinies.  It 
has  discovered  that  because  man  is  the  end  of  development  he  is 
not  wholly  in  it — the  product  "of  a  process,  and  for  that  very  reason 
cut  off  from  the  process.  What  thing  is  there  that  is  made  by  man, 
or  by  nature  after  a  plan  and  for  an  end,  that  is  not  separated  from 
the  process  when  it  is  finished,  set  in  entirely  different  relations  and 
put  to  different  uses  ?  When  a  child  is  born,  the  first  thing  done  is 
to  sever  the  cord  that  binds  it  to  its  origin  and  through  which  it 
became  what  it  is.  The  embryotic  condition  and  processes  and 
laws  are  left  behind,  and  man  walks  forth  under  the  heavens — the 
child  of  the  stars  and  of  the  earth,  born  of  their  long  travail,  their 
p.-rfect  and  only  offspring.  Now  he  has  new  conditions,  new  laws, 
new  methods  and  ends  of  his  own.  Now  we  have  the  image  of  the 
creating  God— the  child  of  the  begetting  Spirit.  It  is  to  such  con- 
clusions that  recent  science  is  leading.  Man  is  the  end  or  product 
that  nature  had  in  view  during  the  whole  process  of  evolution  ; 
when  he  is  produced,  the  process  ceases,  and  its  laws  either  end  at 
once  or  gradually,  or  take  on  a  form  supplementary  to  other  laws, 
or  are  actually  reversed.  So  freed,  we  have  man  as  mind  and 
spirit,  evoK^ed  or  created  out  of  nature,  but  no  longer  correlated  to 
its  methods,  face  to  face  with  laws  and  forces  hitherto  unknown  or 
but  dimly  shadowed,  moving  steadily  in  a  direction  opposite  to  that 
in  which  ho  was  produced. 

Receiving  man  thus  at  the  hands  of  science,  what  shall  we  do 
with  him  but  pass  him  over  into  the  world  to  the  verge  of  which 
science  has  brought  him — the  world  of  mind  and  spirit?  From 
cosmic  dust  he  has  become  a  true  person.  What  now  ?  What 
remains  ?     What,  indeed,  but  llight,  if  man  be  found  to  have  wino-s  ? 


NOTES    ON    IMMORTALITY.  105 

Or  does  he  stand  for  a  moment  on  the  summit,  exulting  in  his 
emergence  from  nature,  only  to  roll  back  into  the  dust  at  its  base  ? 
There  is  a  reason  why  the  reptile  should  become  a  mammal :  it  is 
more  life.  Is  there  no  like  reason  for  man  ?  Shall  he  not  have 
more  life?  If  not,  then  to  be  a  reptile  is  better  than  to  be  a  man, 
for  it  can  be  more  than  itself;  and  man,  instead  of  being  the  head 
of  nature,  goes  to  its  foot.  The  dream  of  pessimism  becomes  a 
reality,  justifying  the  remark  that  consciousness  is  the  mistake  and 
malady  of  nature.  If  man  becomes  no  more  than  he  now  is,  the 
whole  process  of  gain  and  advance  by  which  he  has  become  what 
he  is  turns  on  itself  and  reverses  its  order.  The  benevolent  pur- 
pose, seen  at  every  stage  as  it  yields  to  the  next,  stops  it  action, 
dies  out,  and  goes  no  farther.  The  ever-swelling  bubble  of  exist- 
ence, that  has  grown  and  distended  till  it  reflects  the  light  of  heaven 
in  all  its  glorious  tints,  bursts  on  the  instant  into  nothingness. 

Proceeding  now  under  theistic  conceptions,  I  am  confident  that 
our  scientific  self  goes  along  with  our  reasoning  self  when  I  claim 
that  the  process  of  evolution  at  every  step  and  in  every  moment 
rests  on  God,  and  draws  its  energy  from  God.  The  relation,  doubt- 
less, is  organic,  but  no  less  are  its  processes  conscious,  voluntary, 
creative  acts.  Life  was  crowded  into  the  process  as  fast  as  the  plan 
admitted  ;  it  was  life  and  more  life  till  the  process  culminated  in 
man — the  end  towards  which  it  had  been  steadily  pressing.  We 
have  in  this  process  the  surest  possible  ground  of  expectation  that 
God  will  crown  his  continuous  gift  of  life  with  immortal  life.  When, 
at  last,  he  has  produced  a  being  who  is  the  image  of  himself,  who 
has  full  consciousness  and  the  creative  will,  who  can  act  in  right- 
eousness, who  can  adore  and  love  and  commune  with  his  Creator, 
there  is  a  reason — and  if  there  is  a  reason  there  will  be  found  a 
method — why  the  gift  of  immortal  life  should  be  conferred.  God 
has  at  last  secured  in  man  the  image  of  himself — an  end  and  solu- 
tion of  the  whole  process.  Will  he  not  set  man  in  permanent  and 
perfect  relations^     Having  elaborated  his  jewel  till  it  reflects  him- 


I06  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

self,  docs  he  gaze  upon  it  for  a  briefer  moment  than  he  spent  in 
producing  it,  and  then  cast  it  back  into  elemental  chaos  ?  Science 
itself  forces  upon  us  the  imperious  question,  and  to  science  also  arc 
we  indebted  for  a  hopeful  answer — teaching  us  at  last  that  we  arc 
not  bound  to  think  of  man  as  under  the  conditions  and  laws  that 
produced  him, — the  END  of  the  creative  process,  and  therefore  not 
OF  it.  Such  is  the  logic  of  Evolution,  and  we  could  not  well  do 
without  it.  But  we  must  follow  it  to  its  conclusions.  Receiving  at 
its  hands  a  Creating  Mind  working  by  a  teleological  process  toward 
man  as  the  final  product,  we  are  bound  to  think  consistently  of 
these  factors  ;  nor  may  we  stop  in  our  thought  and  leave  them  in 
confusion.  If  immortality  seems  a  difficult  problem,  the  denial  or 
doubt  of  it  casts  upon  us  one  more  difficult.  We  have  an  intelli- 
gent Creator  starting  with  such  elements  as  cosmic  dust,  and  pro- 
ceeding in  an  orderly  process  that  may  be  indicated  under  Darwin's 
five  laws,  or  Wallace's  more  pronounced  theism,  or  Argyll's  or 
Naudin's  theory  of  constant  creative  energy, — it  matters  not  which 
be  followed, — developing  the  solid  globe  ;  then  orders  of  life  that 
hardly  escape  matter  ;  then  other  orders  that  simply  eat  and  move 
and  procreate  ;  and  so  on  to  higher  forms,  but  always  aiming  at 
man,  for  "the  clod  must  think,"  the  crystal  must  reason,  and  the 
fire  must  love, — all  pressing  steadily  toward  man,  for  whom  the 
process  has  gone  on  and  in  whom  it  ends,  because  he — being  what 
he  is — turns  on  these  very  laws  that  produced  him  and  reverses 
their  action.  The  instincts  have  died  out ;  for  necessity  there  is 
freedom  ;  for  desire  there  is  conscience  ;  natural  selection  is  lost  in 
intelligence  ;  the  struggle  for  existence  is  checked  and  actually 
reversed  under  the  moral  nature,  so  that  the  weak  live  and  the 
strong  perish  unless  they  protect  the  weak.  A  being  who  puts  a 
contrast  on  all  the  ravening  creation  behind  him,  and  lifts  his  face 
toward  the  heavens  in  adoration,  and  throws  the  arm  of  his  saving 
love  around  all  living  things,  and  s®  falls  into  sympathetic  affinity 
with  God  himself  and  becomes  a  conscious  creator  of  what  is  srood 


NOTES   ON    IMMORTALITY.  IO7 

and  true  and  beautiful — such  is  man.     What  will  God  do  with  this 
being  after  spending  countless  eons  in  creating  him  ?  what  will  God 
do  with  his  own  image  ?  is  the  piercing  question  put  to  reason.     I 
speak  of  ideal  man — the  man  that  has  been  and  shall  be  ;  of  the 
meek  who  inherit  the  earth  and  rule  over  it  in  the  sovereign  power 
of  love  and  goodness.      How  much  of  time,  what  field  of  existence 
and  action,  will  God  grant  to  this  being  ?     The  pulses  of  his  heart 
wear  out  in  less  than  a  hundred  years.     Ten  years  are  required  for 
intelligence  to  replace  the  loss  of  instinct,  so  that  relatively  his  full 
life  is  briefer  than  that   of  the  higher  animals.     A  quarter  of  his 
years  is  required   for  phys.jal  and   mental  development  ;  a  half — 
perchance  a  little  more — is  left  for  work  and  achievement,  and  the  rest 
for  dying.     And  he  dies  saying  :    I  am  the  product  of  eternity,  and 
I  can  return  into  eternity  ;  I   have  lived   under  the   inspiration  of 
eternal  life,  and  I  may  claim  it ;  I   have  loved   my  God,  my  child, 
my  brother  man,  and  I  know  that  love  is  an  eternal  thing.     It  has 
so  announced  itself  to  me,  and  I  pass  into  its  perfect  and   eternal 
realization.     Measure  this  being  thus,  and  then  ask  reason,  ask  God 
himself,  if  the  pitiful  three  score  and  ten  is  a  reasonable  existence. 
There  is  no  proportion  between  the  production   of  man  and  the 
length  of  his  life  ;  it  is  like  spending  a  thousand  years  in   building 
a  pyrotechnic  piece  that  burns  against  the  sky  for  one  moment  and 
leaves  the  blackness  of  a  night  never  again  to  be  lighted.     Such  a 
destiny  can  be  correlated  to  no  possible  conception  of  God  nor  of 
the  world  except  that  of  pessimism — the  philosophy  of  chaos — the 
logic  that  assumes  order  to  prove  disorder — that  uses  consciousness 
to  prove  that  it  is  a  disease.     But  any  rational  conception  of  God 
forces  us  to  the  conclusion  that  he  will  hold  on  to  the  final  product 
of  his  long  creative  struggle.     If  man  were  simply  a  value,  a  fruit 
of  use,  an  actor  of  intelligence,  a  creator  of  good,  he  would  be  worth 
preserving  ;  but  if  God   loves   man   and   man  loves  God,  and  so 
together  they  realize  the  ultimate  and  highest  conception  of  being 
and  destiny,  it  is  impossible  to  believe  that  the  knife  of  Omnipo- 


I08  i-UiuRi:.    i'UxNi^UMtiNT. 

tencc  will  cut  the  cord<^  of  that  love  and  suffer  man  to  fall  bacV  Into 
elemental  flames  ;  for,  if  we  do  not  live  when  we  die,  we  pass  into 
the  hands  of  oxygen.  Perhaps  it  is  our  destiny — it  must  be  under 
some  theories  ;  but  it  is  not  yet  necessary  under  any  accredited 
theory  of  science  or  philosophy  to  conceive  of  God  as  a  Moloch 
l)urning  his  children  in  his  fiery  arms,  nor  as  a  Saturn  devouring 
his  own  offspring. 

T  am  well  aware  that  just  here  a  distinction  is  made  that  takes 
off  the  edge  of  these  horrible  conclusions, — namely,  that  humanity 
survives  though  the  individual  perishes.     This  theory,  which  is  not 
recent,  had  its  origin  in  that  phase  of  nature  v/hich  showed  a  con- 
stant disregard  of  the  individual  and  a  steady  care  for  the  type  or 
class.     It  found  its  way  from  science  into  literature,  where  it  took 
on  the  form  of  lofty  sentiment  and  became  almost  a  religion.     It 
is  a  product  of  the  too  hasty  theory  that   we  may  carry  the  analo- 
gies of  nature   over  into  the  world   of  man,  and   lay  them  down 
squarely  and  without  qualification  as  though  they  compassed  him. 
Science  no  longer  does  this,  but  the  blunder  lives  on  in  literature 
and  the  every-day  thought  of  the  world.     But  suppose  it  were  true 
that  the  individual  perishes  and  humanity  survives,  how  much  relief 
does  it  afford  to  thought  ?     It  simply  lengthens  the  day  that  must 
end  in  horrible  doom.      For  the  question   recurs,   how   long   will 
humanity  continue?     How  long  will  the  earth  entertain  that  golden 
era  when  the  individual  shall  peacefully  live  out  his  allotted  years, 
and  yield  up  the  store  of  his  life  to  the  general   fund  of  humanity, 
in  the  utter  content  of  perfect  negation  ?     I  might  perhaps  make  a 
total  sacrifice  for  an  eternal  good,  but  I  will  sit  down  with  the  pes- 
simists sooner  than  sacrifice  myself  for  a  temporary  good  ;  the  total 
cannot  be  correlated  to   the  temporary.     If  such   sacrifice  is  ever 
made,  it  is  the  insanity  of  self-estimate,  or  rather  is  the  outcome  of 
an  unconscious  sense  of  a  continuous  life.     How  long  do  I  live  on 
in  humanity?     Only  till   the   crust   of  the  earth   becomes  a  little 
thick-er.  and  days  and  nights  grow  longer,  and  the  earth  sucks  tlie 


NOTEb    ON    IMMORTALITY-  lOp 

?.«•  into  its  "  interlunar  caves" — now  a  sister  to  the  moons  Chaos 
does  not  lie  behind  this  world,  but  ahead.  The  picture  of  the  evo- 
lution of  man  through  "  dragons  of  the  prime  "  is  not  so  dreadful  as 
that  foreshadowed  when  the  world  shall  have  grown  old,  and  envir- 
onment no  longer  favors  full  life.  Humanity  may  mount  high,  but 
it  must  go  down  and  reverse  the  steps  of  its  ascent.  Its  lofty  altru- 
ism will  die  out  under  hard  conditions  ;  the  struggle  for  existence 
will  again  resume  its  sway,  and  hungry  hordes  will  fish  in  shallow- 
ing seas,  and  roam  in  the  blasted  forests  of  a  dying  world,  breath- 
ing a  thin  atmosphere  under  which  man  shrinks  towards  an  inevit- 
able extinction.  Science  paints  the  picture,  but  reason  disdains  it 
as  the  probable  outcome  of  humanity.  The  future  of  this  world  as 
the  abode  of  humanity  is  a  mystery,  though  not  wholly  an  unlighted 
one  ;  but  under  no  possible  conception  can  the  world  be  regarded 
as  the  theater  of  the  total  history  of  the  race. 

This  altruism  that  assumes  for  itself  a  loftier  morality  in  its 
willingness  to  part  with  personality  and  live  on  simply  as  influence 
and  force,  sweetening  human  life  and  deepening  the  blue  of  heaven 
— a  view  that  colors  the  pages  of  George  Eliot  and  also  some  un- 
fortunate pages  of  science, — is  one  of  those  theories  that  contains 
within  itself  its  own  refutation.  It  regards  personalii'iy  almost  as 
an  immorality  :  lose  yourself  in  the  general  good  ;  it  is  but  selfish 
to  claim  existence  for  self.  It  may  be,  indeed,  but  not  if  person- 
ality has  attained  to  the  law  of  love  and  service.  Personality  may 
not  only  reverse  the  law  of  selfishness,  but  it  is  the  only  condition 
under  which  it  can  be  wholly  reversed.  If  I  can  remain  a  person 
I  can  love  and  serve, — I  may  be  a  perpetual  generator  of  love  and 
service  ;  but  if  I  cease  to  exist,  I  cease  to  create  them,  and  leave  a 
mere  echo  or  trailing  influence  thinning  out  into  an  unmeaning  uni- 
verse. Such  an  altruism  limits  the  use  and  force  of  character  tc 
the  small  opportunity  of  human  life  ;  it  is  so  much  and  no  more, 
however  long  it  may  continue  to  act ;  but  the  altruism  of  ideal  and 
enduring  personality  continues  to  act  forever,  and  possibly  on  an 


TIO  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

increasing  scale.  This  altruism  of  benevolent  annihilation  cuts 
away  the  basis  of  its  action.  It  pauperizes  itself  by  one  act  of 
giving. — breaks  its  bank  in  the  generosity  of  its  issue.  It  is  one 
thing  to  see  the  difficulties  in  the  way  of  immortality,  but  quite 
another  thing  to  erect  annihilation  into  morality  ,  and  it  is  simply 
a  blunder  in  logic  to  claim  for  such  morality  a  superiority  over  that 
of  those  who  hope  to  live  on,  wearing  the  crown  of  personality  that 
struggling  nature  has  placed  on  their  heads,  and  serving  its  Author 
for  ever  and  ever.  The  simple  desire  to  live  is  neither  moral  nor 
immoral,  but  the  desire  to  live  for  service  and  love  is  the  highest 
morality  and  the  only  true  altruism. 

I  shall  not  follow  the  subject  into  those  fields  of  human  life  and 
spiritual  experience — it  being  a  beaten  path — where  the  assurances 
of  immortality  mount  into  clear  vision,  my  aim  having  been  to 
lessen  the  weight  of  the  physical  world  as  it  hangs  upon  us  in  our 
upward  flight.  We  cannot  cut  the  bond  that  binds  us  to  the  world 
by  pious  assertion,  nor  cast  it  off  by  ecstatic  struggles  of  the  spirit, 
nor  unbind  it  by  any  half-way  processes  of  logic,  nor  bj'  turning 
our  back  upon  ascertained  knowledge.  We  must  have  a  clear  path 
behind  us  if  we  would  have  a  possible  one  before  us. 

There  are  three  chief  realities,  no  one  of  which  can  be  left  out 
in  attempts  to  solve  the  problem  of  destiny  :  man,  the  world,  ?ind 
God.  We  must  think  of  them  in  an  orderly  and  consistent  way. 
One  reality  cannot  destroy  nor  lessen  the  force  of  another.  If  there 
has  been  apparent  conflict  in  the  past,  it  now  seems  to  be  drawing 
to  a  close  ;  the  world  agrees  with  theism,  and  matter  no  longer 
denies  spirit.  If,  at  one  time,  matter  threatened  to  possess  the  uni- 
verse and  include  it  under  its  laws,  it  has  withdrawn  its  claim,  and 
even  finds  itself  driven  to  mind  and  to  spirit  as  the  larger  factors  of 
its  own  problems.  Mind  now  has  full  liberty  to  think  consistently 
of  itself  and  of  God,  and,  with  such  liberty,  it  finds  itself  driven  to 
the  conclusion  of  immortality  by  every  consideration  of  its  nature 


NOTES   ON    IMMORTALITY.  Ill 

and  by  every  fact  of  its  condition, — its  only  refuge  against  hopeless 
mental  confusion. 

Not  from  consciousness  only, — knowing  ourselves  to  be  what 
we  are, — but  out  of  the  mystery  of  ourselves,  may  we  draw  this 
sublime  hope  ;  for  we  are  correlated  not  only  to  the  known,  but  to 
the  unknown.  The  spirit  transcends  the  visible,  and  by  dream,  by 
vision,  by  inextinguishable  desire,  by  the  unceasing  cry  of  the  con- 
scious creature  for  the  Creator,  by  the  aspiration  after  perfection, 
by  the  pressure  of  evil  and  by  the  weight  of  sorrow,  penetrates  the 
the  realms  beyond,  knowing  there  must  be  meaning  and  purpose 
and  end  for  the  mystery  that  it  is. — Rev  T.  T.  Munger,  (Con- 
densed from  "The  Century"  Magazine,  May,  1885.) 


CO^^DITIONAL  IMMORTALITY; 

OR, 

ANNIHIL.VTIONISM. 


"  The  g-ood  and  evii,  in  a  moment,  all 
Were  changed,  corruptible  to  incorrupt, 
And  mortal  to  immortal : 
Tier  loud,  uncircumcised,  tempestuous  crew, 
How  ill-prepared  to  meet  their  God  !  were  changed." 

"  In  no  system  which  disposes  of  the  wicked  by  annihilation 
will  it  be  long"  possible  to  maintain  faith  in  the  immortality  of  the 
good.  If  human  souls  enjoy  no  exemption  from  the  lot  which 
ordains  that  all  things  eventually  become  the  prey  of  death,  it  is 
hard  to  believe  that  self-love  is  not  deceiving  us,  when  we  flatter 
ourselves  that  we  can  escape  the  doom  which  overhangs  not  only 
all  other  created  things,  but  also  multitudes  of  our  fcUowmen." 


CONDITIONAL  IMMORTALITY. 


AVING  endeavored  in   previous  chapters,  to  show  the 
unreasonableness  of  Materialism  in  its  different  forms, 
and  the  certainty  of  Immortality,  we  now  proceed  to 
consider  the  doctrine  of  Conditional   Immortality,  or 
pY%^  the  Annihilation  of  the  Wicked, 

'^^  Stated  concisely,  and  in  the  words  of  those  who  teach 

it.  Conditional  Immortality,  or  Annihilationism,  is  as  follows  : 
Eternal  life  or  immortality  is  not  the  natural,  unconditional,  and 
indefeasible  endowment  of  every  human  being  born  into  the  world, 
Christian  and  heathen,  saint  and  sinner,  infant  and  patriarch,  sage 
and  idiot,  alike  ;  but  the  gift  of  God,  bestowed  only  upon  the  true 
believer  in  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  by  virtue  of  his  vital  union 
with  him,  who  is  at  once  the  author  and  the  Prince  of  life.  The 
Bible  nowhere  teaches  an  inherent  immortality,  but  teaches  that  it 
is  the  object  of  redemption  to  impart  it.  It  shows  that  the  com- 
munication of  it  requires  a  regeneration  of  man  by  the  indwelling 
of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  a  resurrection  of  the  dead.  It  declares  that 
those  who  will  not  return  to  God  will  die,  and  perish  everlastingly. 
That  in  the  exercise  of  His  matchless  love,  God  is  pleased  to  bestow 
immortality  upon  mortals  who  receive  His  son,  Jesus  Christ  our 
Lord.  That  the  object  of  Christ's  work  is  to  restore  to  man  the 
two  things  which  he  has  lost,  holiness  and  immortality  ;  that  the 
actual  enjoyment  of  these  blessings  by  any  human  being  depends 
upon  his  acceptance  of  the  gospel,  and  those  who  refuse  to  do  so. 


Il6  FUTURE    I'UNISHMENT. 

remain  under  the  original  sentence  of  death,  but  liable  to  additional 
stripes  in  the  execution  of  it,  which  is  called  destruction,  and  is 
represented,  literally  or  figuratively,  by  the  most  terrible  of  all  des- 
tructive agencies,  fire  ;  that  some  men  will  to  the  last  receive  the 
grace  of  God  in  vain,  and  consequently  perish  for  ever. 

In  the  more  recent  publications  of  such  men  as  White,  Constable 
Petengell,  and  R.  W.  Dale  (successor  of  John  Angel  James,  Bir- 
mingham), who  may  be  regarded  as  the  representatives  of  this 
theory  in  England  and  America,  such  passages  as  the  following 
occur : 

The  idea  that  God  has  bestowed  upon  men,  or  upon  any  part 
of  human  nature,  an  inalienable  immortality  finds  no  sanction  in 
the  scriptures.  In  vain  do  men,  bent  on  sustaining  a  human 
figment,  ransack  scripture  for  some  expressions,  which  may  be  tor- 
tured into  giving  it  an  apparent  support.  Immortality  was  given 
to  man  at  creation,  but  it  was  alienable.  It  might  be  parted  with : 
it  might  be  thrown  away  :  it  might  be  lost.  This  immortality  was 
alienated  :  this  priceless  gift  was  thrown  away  and  lost.  Man 
sinned,  and  lost  immortality.  Sinful  man  is  not  by  nature  immor 
tal,  but  mortal.  He  has  lowered  himself  to  the  level  of  the  beasts 
that  perish.  If  immortality  is  to  be  his  again,  it  must  be  as  a  gift 
restored,  and  not  inherited.  It  must  become  his  by  virtue  of  some 
new  provision  of  grace,  which  reinstates  him  in  the  place  he  lost. 
This  is  the  gospel  of  Christ,  which  gives  back  to  man  the  eternal 
life  which  he  had  forfeited.  God  was  manifested  in  human  form 
for  the  renewal  of  eternal  life.  Christ  has  not  bestowed  this  price- 
less gift  upon  all  ;  but  on  some  only  of  the  fallen  race.  It  is  the 
believer  only  who  can  say,  "  He  redeemeth  my  life  from  destruc- 
tion." *  *  *  Apart  from  Christ,  the  natural  man  has 
no  possible  ground  of  hope  of  immortality  or  eternal  life.  Immor- 
tality is  only  assured  to  every  regenerated  soul,  through  the  death 
and  resurrection  of  Christ.  It  is  only  by  a  new  birth  and  a  resur- 
rection from  the  dead  THROUGH  Christ,  that  any  child  of  Adam 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  II 7 

:an  possess  this  imperishable  h'fe.         *  *  *     Unless  man 

can  be  recovered  from  the  doom  of  death,  to  which  sin  when  it  is 
finished  inevitably  leads,  and  reunited  to  God  in  holiness  and  love, 
he  can  have  no  fitness  for  this  endless  life,  nor  hope  of  attaining  it. 
Man's  natural  life,  LIKE  THAT  OF  ALL  OTHER  LIVING  CREATURES, 
ends  with  death  ;  nor  can  there  be  any  hope  of  a  second  life  for  any 
man,  without  a  Divine  supernatural  interposition  to  raise  him  up 
again.       *  *  *       Punishment  is  eternal,  but  it  consists  in 

eternal  death — that  is,  the  loss  of  eternal  life  or  existence.  This 
death  is  attended  and  produced  by  such  various  degrees  of  pain,  as 
God  in  his  justice  and  wisdom  thinks  fit  to  inflict.  The  attendant 
pain,  with  its  issue  in  death,  are  not  two  distinct  punishments,  but 
are  one  punishment,  varying  in  degree  of  suffering  according  to  the 
guilt  of  the  object.  The  eternal  state  of  the  lost  will  not  consist  in 
an  eternal  life  spent  in  pain  of  body  or  remorse  of  mind,  but  a  state 
of  utter  death  and  destruction,  which  will  abide  for  ever.  The 
length  of  time  which  this  process  of  dissolution  may  take,  and  the 
degrees  of  bodily  or  mental  pain  which  may  produce  it,  are  ques- 
tions which  we  must  leave  to  that  providence  of  God,  which  will 
rule  in  hell  as  in  heaven.  Scope  is  thus  provided  for  that  great 
variety  of  punishment,  which  the  reprobate  will  suffer  hereafter, 
from  that  which  in  its  justice  is  terrible  to  the  sufferer,  to  that  which 
with  equal  justice,  is  by  him  scarcely  felt  at  all. 

The  proofs  adduced  from  the  Old  Testament  in  favor  of  the 
annihilation  of  the  wicked,  are  such  as  these  :  Death  was  the  pen- 
alty which  God  originally  pronounced  against  human  sin.  Adam 
knew  what  death  was  in  one  sense  only — the  loss  of  being  or  exist- 
ence. He  did  not  understand  death  to  mean  an  eternal  existence 
of  agony,  but  simply  that  the  penalty  of  disobedience  was  that  he 
would  become  like  the  beasts  that  perish.  It  was  not  an  eternal 
existence  in  pain,  but  the  withdrawal  of  a  life,  whose  true  aim  and 
object  had  been  lost.  The  Old  Testament  Scriptures  describe  the 
end  of  the  ungodly,  as  the  resolution  of  organised  substance  into 


Il8  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

its  original  parts,  its  reduction  to  that  condition  in  which  it  is,  a^ 
though  it  had  never  been  called  into  being,  "  The  destruction  of 
the  transgressors  and  of  sinners  shall  be  together  :  they  are  pre- 
pared for  the  day  of  slaughter  :  God  shall  destroy  them  :  They 
shall  be  consumed,  cut  off,  rooted  out  of  the  land  of  the  living  ; 
blotted  out  of  the  Book  of  Life.  The  candle  of  the  wicked  shall  be 
put  out :  as  wax  melteth  before  the  fire,  so  shall  the  wicked  perish 
at  the  presence  of  God  :  the  wicked  shall  be  turned  into  hell,  and 
all  the  nations  that  forget  God — they  shall  be  as  though  they  had 
not  been."  From  such  passages  Annihilationists  argue,  that  the 
punishment  of  the  wicked  consists  not  in  life,  but  in  the  loss  of  life  ; 
not  in  their  continuance  in  that  organised  form  which  constitutes 
man,  but  in  its  dissolution  :  its  resolution  into  its  original  parts,  its 
becoming  as  though  it  never  had  been  called  into  existence.  While 
the  redeemed  are  to  know  a  life  which  knows  no  end,  the  lost  arc 
to  be  reduced  to  a  death  which  knows  of  no  awakening  for  ever 
and  ever. 

Passing  on  to  the  New  Testament,  the  following  texts  are  citcJ 
in  support  of  the  doctrine  :  "  He  that  believeth  not  the  Son,  shall 
not  see  life  :  If  ye  live  after  the  flesh,  ye  shall  die  :  The  wages  of 
sin  is  death  :  Sin,  when  finished,  bringeth  forth  death  :  The  end  of 
these  things  (fleshly  lusts)  is  death :  Every  tree  which  bringeth  not 
forth  good  fruit,  is  hewn  down  and  cast  into  the  fire  :  If  our  gospel 
be  hid,  it  is  hid  to  them  that  are  lost :  Who  shall  be  punished  with 
everlasting  destruction  from  the  presence  of  the  Lord."  The  Greek 
noun  "  Apoleia,"  rendered  "  destruction  "  by  the  sacred  writers,  and 
the  Greek  verb  "  Apollumi,"  when  speaking  of  future  punishment, 
it  is  held,  mean  utter  loss  of  existence,  as  when  the  Apostle  says, 
that  the  ungodly  are  "  vessels  fitted  to  destruction." 

The  illustrations  of  scripture  also  imply,  it  is  argued  by  Annihi- 
lationists, that  the  wicked  will  come  to  an  end,  and  cease  to  exist 
in  hell.  "They  shall  be  dashed  in  pieces  like  a  potter's  vessel :  they 
shall  be  like  beasts  that  perish  :  like  a  whirlwind  that  passes  away  : 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  II9 

\Vi<e  a  waterless  garden  scorched  by  an  Eastern  sun  :  like  garments 
consumed  by  the  moth  :  like  a  dream  which  flies  away  :  thev  shall 
be  silent  in  darkness  :  shall  be  consumed  like  the  fat  of  lambs  in 
the  fire — like  smoke  :  like  thorns  :  shall  melt  like  wax,  and  burn 
like  the  tow — shall  vanish  away  like  exhausted  waters.  They  shall 
be  like  wood  cast  into  unquenchable  flames  :  like  chaff  burned  up  : 
like  tares  consumed  :  like  a  dry  branch  reduced  to  ashes." 

Annihilationists,  AS  A  CLASS,  do  not  deny  the  resurrection  of  the 
wicked.  They  believe  that  all  men  shall  rise  in  their  bodies,  to 
give  an  account  of  their  deeds.  But  between  the  resurrection  of  the 
wicked  and  the  just,  there  is  a  fundamental  and  essential  difference. 
The  one  is  raised  to  pain  and  shame  :  the  other  to  joy  and  glory. 
The  one  is  raised  to  die  a  second  time  :  the  other  to  die  no  more. 
The  bodies  of  the  just  are  changed  at  the  resurrection,  putting  on 
incorruption  and  immortality  ;  while  those  of  the  wicked  are  raised 
unchanged,  not  putting  on  at  resurrection  either  incorruption  or  im- 
mortality, but  still  natural  bodies  as  they  are  sown,  resuming  with 
their  old  life  their  old  mortality,  subject  to  pain,  and  sure  to  yield 
to  that  of  which  pain  is  the  symptom  and  precursor — physical  death 
and  dissolution.  The  notion  of  two  everlasting  kingdoms,  running 
parallel  with  each  other,  the  one  a  kingdom  of  purity  and  blessed- 
ness, the  other  a  kingdom  of  sin  and  sorrow  ;  the  one  to  resound 
with  the  praises  and  joyful  songs  of  redeemed  men  and  angels,  and 
the  other  with  the  groans  and  blasphemies  of  lost  sinners  and  devils 
to  all  eternity,  is,  they  maintain,  not  a  doctrine  of  the  Bible,  but  a 
relic  of  Persian  dualism  and  pagan  superstition. 

Those  who  hold  the  doctrine  of  conditional  immortality  and  the 
final  annihilation  of  the  wicked,  of  necessity  regard  the  fifteenth 
chapter  of  ist  Corinthians  as  simply  intended  to  show  the  intimate 
connection  between  Christ  and  his  people,  in  virtue  of  which  they 
rise  from  the  grave.  That  the  Apostle  does  not  discuss  in  the  ab- 
stract the  fact  of  the  resurrection,  but  has  special  reference  to  the 
bearing  of  Christ's  rising  from  the  dead  upon  the  believer's  spiritual 


I20  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

and  eternal  life,  all  commentators  hold  ;  but  that  the  resurrection 
of  Christ  and  belief  in  a  general  resurrection  are  inseparably  con- 
nected, is  none  the  less  admitted  by  every  candid  critic.  The  object 
of  the  apostle  is  not  to  argue  the  resurrection  against  certain  scep- 
tics who  denied  a  future  life,  but  rather  to  show  the  inconsistency 
of  certain  professed  believers,  who  attempted  to  acknowledge  Christ 
as  the  Messiah,  while  denying  a  future  existence.  As  Dr.  John 
Brown  says:  "The  whole  of  the  apostle's  statements  and  reason- 
ings refer  solely  to  the  resurrection  of  the  just,  of  those  who  are 
Christ's — who  stand  to  him  in  a  relati'")n  similar  to  that  in  which  all 
men  stand  to  Adam — the  family  of  which  Jesus  is  the  elder  brother, 
the  first  born, — the  full  harvest,  of  which  he  is  the  first  fruits  :  NOT 
THAT  Paul  means  to  deny,  what  he  elsewhere  so  EXPLI- 
CITLY AFFIRMS,  THAT  "  THERE  SHALL  BE  A  RESURRECTION  OF 
THE  UNJUST  AS  WELL  AS  THE  JUST,"  nor  that  some  of  his  argu- 
ments have  not  a  bearing  on  that  resurrection  to  condemnation  as 
well  as  the  resurrection  to  life  ;  but  that  the  subject  of  his  discourse 
being  the  resurrection  to  life,  as  a  glorious  privilege  secured  by 
Christ  to  his  people,  did  not  naturally  lead  him  to  speak  of  the 
resurrection  to  condemnation,  which  forms  an  important  part  of  the 
just  retributive  punishment  that  awaits  the  impenitent  and  unbe- 
lieving." The  resurrection  of  Christ  and  the  general  resurrection 
are  indeed  so  related  to  one  another,  that  they  stand  or  fall  together. 
"  If  Christ  is  risen,  then  the  dead  rise.  If  the  dead  rise  not,  then  is 
Christ  not  raised."  As  Dr.  Candlish  shows  in  his  able  work,  "  Life 
in  a  risen  Saviour,"  the  question  of  the  continued  existence  of  man 
after  death,  is  not  raised  in  the  argument,  BUT  IS  EVERYWHERE 
IMPLIED.  "  We  sh^M  not  all  sleep,  but  we  shall  all  be  changed,  in 
a  moment,  in  the  twinkling  of  an  eye,  at  the  last  trump,"  is  a  state- 
ment that,  taken  in  connection  with  other  passages  of  scripture, 
CANNOT  REFER  EXCLUSIVELY  TO  THE  JUST.  Those  who  hold  the 
theory  of  conditional  immortality,  and  the  ultimate  destruction  or 
annihilation  of  the  impenitent  wicked,  equally  with  those  who  deny 


Circles  of  Glorified  Souls,  described  as  "Ga>lmds  of  ^^-':^^^^'^^[^ll'-;;ifp;Sse,  Canto  xii.     t 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  121 

the  latter,  can  agree  in  this— that  Christ  is  the  first  fruits  of  his 
sleeping-  saints,  and  that  as  he  rose  they  shall  also  rise.  The  doc- 
trine of  the  Reformed  Church  is,  that  their  bodies,  still  united  to 
Christ,  do  rest  in  their  graves  till  the  resurrection.  It  is  not  the 
soul,  but  the  body,  that  sleeps  in  Jesus. 

"  The  Fathers  are  in  dust,  yet  live  to  God, 

So  says  the  Truth  :  as  if  the  motionless  cldy 

Still  held  the  seeds  of  life  beneath  the  sod. 

Smouldering  and  struggling  till  the  judgment  day. 

Sophist  may  urge  his  cunning  test,  and  deem 

That  they  are  earth  ;  but  they  are  heavenly  shrines." 

But  none  the  less  true  are  the  words  of  the  apostle  :  "  If  there  be  no 
resurrection,  then  is  Christ  not  risen  :  if  the  dead  rise  not,  then  is 
not  Christ  raised."  To  say  that  the  resurrection  of  the  wicked  is 
simply  an  act  of  power  and  judgment,  and  is  no  part  of  redemption, 
does  not  satisfactorily  answer  the  question, — why  are  the  impeni- 
tent dead  raised  at  all  ?  If  for  judgment,  is  it  a  judgment  which  is 
but  the  prelude  to  annihilation  ?  If  so,  whence  the  necessity  of 
judgment — of  torturing  the  resurrected  body  for  a  longer  or  shorter 
time,  when  death  of  both  soul  and  body  is  so  near  ?  The  absurdity 
of  such  a  doctrine  led  such  a  man  as  Theodore  Parker  to  say : 
"  I  believe  that  Jesus  Christ  taught  eternal  torment.  When  the 
stiffened  body  goes  down  to  the  tomb,  sad,  silent,  remorseless — I 
feel  that  there  is  no  death  for  the  man.  That  clod  which  yonder 
dust  shall  cover,  is  not  my  brother.  The  dust  goes  to  his  place, 
man  to  his  own.  It  is  then,  I  feel  immortality.  I  look  through  the 
grave  into  heaven.  I  ask  no  miracle,  no  proof,  no  reasoning.  I  am 
conscious  of  eternal  life."  Christ  in  his  conversation  with  the  sisters 
of  Bethany,  after  the  death  of  their  brother  Lazarus,  shows  most 
conclusively  the  life  which  believers  have  in  a  risen  Saviour,  and  the 
close  relation  in  which  he  stands  to  his  people.  Whether,  as  alleged 
by  those  whose  creed  we  are  now  discussing,  Mary  had  no  thought 
that  Christ  had   anything  in  especial  to  do  with  resurrection,  and 


122  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

had  a  mere  general  belief  in  a  resurrection  of  the  good  and  bad 
alike  at  the  last  day,  is  immaterial.  Christ  clearly  teaches  her,  that 
the  resurrection  of  boJievers  is  assured  in  virtue  of  their  union  to 
their  Head.  "  I  am  the  resurrection  and  the  life  :  he  that  bclieveth 
in  me  though  he  were  dead,  yet  shall  he  live  :  and  whosoever  liveth 
and  believeth  in  me  shall  never  die."  Mary  doubtless  was  thinking 
of  the  last  day,  when  in  company  with  all  the  hosts  of  the  world's 
dead,  her  brother  would  rise  again,  a  truth  which  the  Saviour  never 
once  objected  to,  but  frequently  impressed  upon  the  minds  of  his 
hearers.  But  in  addition,  he  shows  that  apart  from  himself,  there 
is  no  comfort  in  the  prospect  of  a  resurrection.  He  does  not  imply 
that  there  is  no  life  in  the  future  for  the  impenitent  dead,  or  that 
such  a  life  is  only  limited  and  of  short  duration  ;  but  he  shows 
that  union  betvv^een  Christ  and  his  people  ensures  victory  over  death 
and  the  grave,  and  eternal  life  and  blessedness  beyond  the  present. 
Christ  and  his  people  are  one.  His  death  is  their  death.  By  his 
sufferings  and  death  he  has  satisfied  the  claims  of  divine  justice — 
freed  his  people  from  condemnation,  and  raised  them  to  the  favor 
and  fellowship  of  God.  They  are  thus,  as  the  apostle  elsewhere 
expresses  it,  "  quickened  together  with  Christ,  raised  up  together 
with  Him,  and  made  to  sit  with  Him  in  heavenly  places."  Or,  to 
use  the  very  language  of  Annihilationists,  "  Christ  is  the  cause  and 
source  of  his  people's  resurrection  :  without  Him  they  could  have 
no  resurrection  :  in  Him,  through  Him,  from  Him  and  Him  alone, 
their  resurrection  is  to  spring." 

But  this  is  no  new  doctrine.  It  was  not  left  to  Annihilationists 
to  proclaim  for  the  first  time  to  the  world.  It  has  been  the  belief 
for  centuries  of  the  Christian  Church.  Says  the  Prophet  Isaiah, 
chapter  26,  v.  19:  "  Thy  dead  men  shall  live:  together  with  my 
dead  body  shall  they  arise.  Awake  and  sing,  ye  that  dwell  in  dust : 
for  thy  dew  is  as  the  dew  of  herbs,  and  the  earth  shall  cast  out  the 
dead."  This  passage,  as  well  as  that  contained  in  Ezekiel's  prophe- 
cies, chapter  37,  descriptive  of  the  dry  bones  in  the  Valley  of  Vision. 


CONDITIONAL    IMMORTALITY.  1 23 

has  doubtless  a  primary  reference  to  the  desolations  sent  upon  the 
Jewish  nation  for  its  sins.  Notwithstanding  their  past  sad  history, 
they  are  still  beloved  for  their  fathers'  sake.  In  spite  of  their  dis- 
persion among  the  nations  of  the  earth,  they  shall  again  be  gathered 
together,  when  their  wanderings  shall  cease,  their  unbelief  end,  and 
when  in  point  of  privilege  they  shall  b?come  the  joy  and  glory  and 
envy  of  the  world.  These  despised,  degraded,  downtrodden  Jews, 
shall  again  be  quickened  into  national  and  spiritual  life,  and  realise 
a  happier  condition  than  under  Solomon's  reign.  "  Thy  dead  men 
shall  live."  When  the  set  time  to  favor  Zion  comes,  the  walls  shall 
be  built,  and  the  desolations  and  breaches  repaired.  Nor  can  any 
student  of  history  fail  to  perceive,  how  marvellously  the  signs  of  the 
times,  and  the  shakings  of  the  nations,  are  hastening  on  this  blessed 
consummation.  Kingdoms  are  being  rent  in  pieces,  and  thrones 
demolished.  New  sovereignties  and  alliances  are  springing  up,  and 
empires  being  established  on  the  soil  where  but  recently  civilisation 
has  made  her  first  conquests.  Embattled  hosts  are  going  forward 
to  deadly  struggles  for  the  maintenance  of  national  honor,  the 
removal  of  real  or  fancied  wrongs,  and  the  help  of  the  oppressed. 
Such  things  in  themselves  may  seem  comparatively  insignificant, 
but  they  are  working  out  grand  results,  underneath  the  surface  of 
society,  such  as  the  ingathering  of  the  Jews  and  the  evangelisation 
of  the  Gentiles.  It  is  not  simply  that  the  scales  of  unbelief  shall 
be  taken  from  eyes^  of  the  Jews,  enabling  them  to  recognise  Christ 
as  the  promised  Messiah  of  Old  Testament  times,  but  along  with 
their  conversion  shall  come  the  latter  day  glory.  When  Israel  has 
been  reinstated,  we  shall  see  the  downfall  of  hoary  systems  of  super- 
stition, that  for  centuries  have  enslaved  the  human  mind. 

But  the  passage  has  a  direct  bearing  on  the  subject  under  dis- 
cussion. It  intimates,  in  common  with  New  Testament  texts 
already  quoted,  that  the  resurrection  of  be»  levers  is  intimately  con- 
nected with  the  resurrection  of  Christ.  "  Thy  dead  men  shall  live, 
together  with  my  dead  body  shall  they  arise."     Elsewhere  we  read  : 


124  FUTURt:    PUNISHMENT. 

"When  he  who  is  your  Hfe  shall  appear,  ye  also  shall  appear  with 
him  in  glory."  "The  Lord  himself  shall  descend  from  heaven  with 
a  shout  :  with  the  voice  of  the  archangel  and  with  the  trump  of 
God,  and  the  dead  in  Christ  shall  rise  first."  What  then  do  we 
mean  by  saying,  that  believers  rise  with  Christ?  What  is  the  nature  of 
that  union  between  Christ  and  his  people,  that  involves  and  ensures 
such  a  consequence  ?  It  may  be  admitted  at  once,  that  the  scrip- 
tures nowhere  represent  the  resurrection  OF  ALL  THE  DEAD,  as  the 
direct  result  of  the  resurrection  of  Christ.  It  need  not  be  assumed, 
in  combatting  the  views  of  Annihilationists,  that  the  death  and 
resurrection  of  Christ  has  secured  the  resurrection  of  all  who  now 
sleep  in  their  graves,  saints  and  sinners  indiscriminately.  A  resur- 
rection of  the  body  is  a  necessity,  in  order  that  men  may  receive 
sentence  according  to  their  lives  in  the  flesh.  In  the  case  of  believ- 
ers, more  than  the  mere  fact  of  resurrection  is  guaranteed — instead 
of  being  one  to  dishonor  and  condemnation,  it  is  one  to  life  and 
immortality.  It  is  a  glorious  awakening,  and  the  enjo)-ment  of  per- 
fect and  endless  felicity  in  the  world  to  come. 

There  is,  then,  vast  meaning  in  the  words,  "  TOGETHER  with 
MY  DEAD  BODY  shall  they  arise."  Most  vividly  is  the  preciousness 
of  union  to  a  crucified  Saviour  revealed.  Faith  not  only  ensures  to 
the  believer  all  present  spiritual  blessings,  but  makes  him  an  actual 
sharer  in  the  future  destiny  of  his  risen  Lord.  Christ  has  died— 
that  is  a  comforting  truth  :  but  if  he  has  not  risen,  the  believer's 
redemption  is  incomplete.  But  Christ  has  risen.  His  sacrifice  has 
been  accepted.  The  believer's  sins  are  no  longer  imputed  to  him. 
When  he  dies,  it  is  not  IN  his  sins  and  under  the  condemnation  of 
the  law,  but  he  falls  asleep  in  Jesus.  He  enters  the  grave,  and  for 
a  brief  season  is  subject  to  the  last  enemy,  that  like  his  Master,  he 
may  at  last  conspicuously  conquer  him.  There  is  such  an  intimate 
union  between  Christ  and  the  believer,  that  it  is  not  until  he  rises 
from  the  grave  that  the  great  purposes  of  Christ's  death  and  resur- 
rection  are   complete,     "  Christ's  body  still  lies  in  the  tomb,  where 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 25 

his  buried  saints  are  laid.  It  is  His  body  that  h'es  unburied  on  the 
plain,  and  in  the  deep,  where  the  bones  of  His  unburied  saints  are 
scattered."  And  not  until  the  final  results  of  redemption  are  dis- 
closed at  His  second  coming,  shall  it  be  known,  how  intimate  is  the 
union  between  Christ  and  His  people.  In  the  resurrection  of  the 
body  of  His  saints,  shall  be  the  completion  of  His  own. 

But  none  the  less  does  this  passage,  taken  in  connection  with 
the  whole  analogy  of  scripture,  teach  that  ALL  shall  rise  from  their 
graves,  not  for  annihilation  near  or  more  remote,  but  for  judgment, 
to  be  followed  by  an  eternity  of  weal  or  woe.  Whether  the  grave 
has  been  the  bed  of  ocean,  where  no  friendly  footstep  has  ever 
trod  :  or  the  battle  field,  where  undistinguished  amid  the  countless 
dead,  there  lies  the  stiffened  corpse  of  beloved  son  or  cherished 
lover,  whose  last  fond  cry  no  fond  ear  heard,  and  whose  dying  ago- 
nies no  kindly  hand  of  affection  lightened  :  or  the  quiet  village 
churchyard,  where  amid  flowers  and  cypresses  and  kindred  the  body 
rests  peacefully  ; — wherever  our  last  resting  place  may  be,  the  graves 
shall  cast  forth  their  dead  at  the  command  of  Christ. 

There  is,  indeed,  something  grand  in  the  thought  of  resurrection  ! 
Nature  revolts  at  the  thought  of  annihilation.  Who  can  bear  to 
think  of  death  as  the  everlasting  destruction  of  these  poor  bodies, 
far  less  of  the  immortal  spirits  which  inhabit  them  ?  During  the 
long  winter  months,  when  the  external  world  lies  dormant,  and 
nature  seems  asleep  under  her  icy  covering,  is  it  not  the  knowledge 
of  coming  spring,  when  birds  sing  and  flowers  bloom,  and  streams 
and  rivers  murmur  to  the  song  of  the  husbandman,  as  he  turns  up 
the  furrows  and  sows  his  seed,  that  fills  the  heart  with  hope,  and 
revives  our  drooping  energies  ?  Spring  is  indeed  the  earnest  and 
harbinger  of  resurrection.  The  grasp  of  winter  relaxes  ;  barren- 
ness, bleakness  and  chilliness,  give  place  to  beauty,  fragrance  and 
fertility  ;  crocuses,  snowdrops  and  violets  peer  through  the  melting 
snow  ;  trees  that  formerly  echoed  the  sighings  of  the  wind,  regain 
their  foliage  ;  the  seed  long  buried  under  the  earth  bursts  its  sepul- 


126  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

chrc,  and  nature  throughout  her  wide  domain  swells  with  tnc  nymn 
of  gladness.  And  so  when  we  lay  our  dead  in  the  narrow  house 
appointed  for  all  the  living,  is  it  not  the  firm  belief  that  death  is  the 
way  to  life — that  these  natural  bodies  shall  put  on  supernatural  and 
spiritual  bodies,  that  prevents  us  following  the  example  of  the  poor 
despairing  Hindoo,  who  casts  Ms  body  on  the  funereal  pile  of  his 
departed  friend,  glad  to  end  an  existence  that  promises  nothing  at 
its  close  but  misery  and  annihilation  ? 

But  the  fact  of  a  general  resurrection,  followed  by  an  endless 
life,  has  a  dark  side  as  well  as  a  bright  one.  There  is  a  resurrection 
to  life,  but  there  is  also  a  resurrection  to  damnation.  "  Many  of 
them  that  sleep  in  the  dust  of  the  earth  shall  awake,  some  to  ever- 
lasting life,  and  some  to  shame  and  everlasting  contempt."  Is  it 
not  this  solemn  consideration  that  inclines  so  many  to  deny  IN 
TOTO  the  doctrine  of  a  resurrection,  and  oppose  the  plain  declara- 
tions of  scripture  by  the  novelties  and  negations  of  science  and  the 
doctrine  of  annihilation.  The  moment  the  doctrine  of  a  resurrec- 
tion is  admitted,  we  are  shut  up  to  the  fact  of  a  judgment  that  fol- 
lows, whose  sentences  demand  an  eternity  for  their  execution. 
What  a  terrible  prospect  this  holds  out  for  the  ungodly  ?  Better 
indeed  that  the  grave  were  their  eternal  abiding  place — that  the 
soul  perished  with  the  dissolution  of  the  body  ;  better  far  they  had 
never  lived,  than  die  unpardoned !  The  remark  was  once  made, 
that  a  man  should  leave  life  as  cheerfully  as  a  visitor  who  has  exam- 
ined an  antiquary's  cabinet  sees  the  curtain  drawn  again,  and  makes 
way  to  admit  fresh  pilgrims  to  the  show,  "  Yes,"  replied  Johnson, 
"  if  he  is  sure  he  is  to  be  well  after  he  goes  out  of  it.  But  if  he  is 
to  grow  blind  after  he  goes  out  of  the  show-room,  and  never  to  see 
anytiiing  again,  or  if  he  does  not  know  whither  he  is  to  go  next,  a 
man  will  not  go  cheerfully  out  of  a  show-room.  No  wise  man  will 
be  contented  to  die  if  he  thinks  he  is  to  go  into  a  state  of  punish- 
ment. Nay,  no  wise  man  will  be  contented  to  die,  if  he  thinks  he 
is  to  fall  into  annihilation,  for  however  unhappy  any  man's  existence 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  I  27 

may  be,  he  would  rather  have  it  than  not  exist  at  all.  No  ;  there 
is  no  rational  principle  by  which  a  man  can  die  contented,  but  a 
trust  in  the  mercy  of  God,  through  the  merits  of  Jesus  Christ." 

Let  us  now  briefly  examine  a  few  passages,  in  which  the  advo- 
cates of  conditional  immortality  profess  to  find  the  doctrine  of 
Annihilation  taught.  For  a  fuller  discussion  of  such  texts,  we  refer 
the  reader  to  the  lectures  of  the  Rev.  George  Rogers,  Theological 
Tutor  in  Spurgeon's  College,  and  the  elaborate  paper  by  the  Rev. 
Professor  McLaren,  at  the  close  of  this  chapter. 

Second  Thessalonians,  i,  v.  9 — "  Who  shall  be  punished  with 
everlasting  destruction  from  the  presence  of  the  Lord,  and  from  the 
glory  of  his  power."  In  this  word  destruction  (Gr.  olethros),  it  is 
maintained  "annihilation"  is  implied.  Destruction,  says  Mr.  White, 
means  destruction  and  nothing  else.  But  if  destruction  means  anni- 
hilation, why  should  it  be  styled  everlasting  ?  The  phrase  ever- 
lasting annihilation  is  without  meaning,  contradictory  and- absurd. 
If  intended  to  teach  the  death  of  the  wicked,  body  and  soul,  "anni- 
hilation "  alone  would  convey  the  meaning.  Rightly  interpreted, 
it  means,  "everlastingly  being  punished  and  destroyed." 

First  Thessalonians,  5,  v.  3 — "  When  they  shall  say,  Peace  and 
safety,  then  sudden  destruction  (Gr.  olethros)  cometh  upon  them, 
and  they  shall  not  escape."  Destruction  is  here  opposed  to  peace 
and  safety,  from  which  there  is  no  escape,  but  annihilation  would 
certainly  be  a  way  of  escape  ! 

First  Timothy,  6,  v.  9 — "  They  that  will  be  rich  fall  into  temp- 
tation and  a  snare,  and  into  many  foolish  and  hurtful  lusts,  which 
drown  men  in  destruction  (Gr.  olethros)  and  in  perdition."  Accord- 
ing to  the  forced  interpretation  put  upon  it,  this  means  drowned 
first  in  annihilation,  and  then  in  perdition  ! 

Upon  the  Greek  word,  "  apoUumi,"  says  Mr.  Rogers,  great  con- 
fidence is  placed  in  support  of  the  annihilation  theory.  Authorities 
are  quoted  to  show  that  when  applied  to  the  living  it  always  signi- 
fies to  destroy  life  ;  that  is,  of  course,  annihilation,  for  it  is  in 


128  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

defence  of  this  alone  that  it  is  adduced.  In  relation  to  other  ol  jects 
we  arc  told  it  has  the  sense  of  loss  ;  when  applied  to  men,  of  anni- 
hilation. An  instance  is  given  in  a  literal  translation  of  i  Cor.  xv, 
17,  18,  "  But  if  Christ  has  not  been  raised  from  the  dead  your  faith 
is  vain,  ye  arc  yet  in  your  sins,  and  as  a  consequence,  those  who  fell 
asleep  in  Christ  were  annihilated  (apolonto)."  Let  us  see  how  the 
same  apostle  uses  the  same  word  elsewhere  in  the  same  epistle.  In 
I  Cor.  i,  18,  we  read,  "The  preaching  ot  the  cross  is  to  them  that 
perish  foolishness  ;  but  unto  us  which  are  saved  it  is  the  power  of 
God."  This  in  both  instances  is  a  reference  to  men  in  this  life. 
The  one  were  then  saved  and  the  other  were  then  perishing,  but 
not  being  annihilated.  We  have  the  same  word  in  2  Cor.  iv.  3, 
"  But  if  our  gospel  be  hid,  it  is  hid  to  them  that  are  ANNIHILATED." 
I  Cor.  viii.  1 1,  "Through  thy  knowledge  shall  thy  weak  brother 
perish  (BE  ANNIHILATED),  for  whom  Christ  died  ?"  i  Cor.  x.  9,  10, 
"  Neither  let  us  tempt  Christ,  as  some  of  them  also  tempted,  and 
were  destroyed  (annihilated)  of  serpents  (apolonto).  Neither 
murmur  ye,  as  some  of  them  also  murmured,  and  were  destroyed 
of  the  destroyer,"  annihilated  (apolonto)  by  the  annihilator.  This 
last  word  is  a  derivative  of  the  term  previously  considered.  In 
Matt.  iv.  38,  we  have  the  disciples  waking  their  Master  in  the  ship 
by  saying,  according  to  the  INVARIABLE  RENDERING  WHEN 
APPLIED  TO  THE  LIFE  OF  MAN,  "  Master,  carest  thou  not  that  we 
are  annihilated?"  Matt.  x.  6,  "Go  rather  to  the  lost  (THE 
ANNIHILATED)  sheep  of  the  house  of  Israel."  In  Luke  xv.  24,  the 
Father,  by  the  new  translation  is  made  to  say  of  his  restored  prodi- 
gal, "This  my  son  was  dead,  and  is  alive  again,  was  ANNIHILATED 
and  is  found."  In  all  these  instances  we  have  strictly  adhered  to 
the  rule  of  the  object  of  the  verb  being  living  men.  Whether  there- 
fore, in  every  such  instance  it  has  but  one  meaning,  and  that  mean- 
ing is  annihilation,  judge  ye.  Supposing  even  it  could  be  shown 
to  have  but  the  one  meaning  of  annihilation,  it  says  nothing  of 
its    being   preceded    by   a    long  period  of  suffering.      As  to  the 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 29 

figures  employed  as  illustrative  of  future  punishment,  chaff  burned 
up  with  unquenchable  fire,  tares  bound  up  in  bundles  to  be  burned, 
a  stone  grinding  to  powder,  a  tree  cut  down  and  cast  into  the  fire, 
it  is  admitted  that  in  these  cases  chaff  as  chaff  is  annihilated,  and 
so  of  the  tares  and  trees  ;  but  what  evidence  is  there  that  this  was 
the  point  of  comparison  intended  ?  There  was  no  design  surely  to 
teach  that  men  were  chaff,  and  tares,  and  trees,  and  that  their  end 
would  be  the  same !  These  figures  are  obviously  intended  to  show 
how  easily  God  can  avenge  himself  of  his  adversaries. 

One  or  two  texts  in  direct  opposition  to  the  doctrine  of  annihi- 
lation, may  fitly  conclude  this  portion  of  our  subject  : 

The  first  of  these  is  in  Matt.  xxv.  46  :  "  These  shall  go  away 
into  everlasting  punishment,  but  the  righteous  unto  life  eternal." 
The  same  word  is  here  used  in  the  original,  both  for  everlasting  and 
eternal.  The  same  eternity  is  affirmed  of  the  punishment  of  the 
wicked  as  of  the  life  of  the  righteous.  They  are  the  words  of  Christ, 
and  if  it  were  not  so,  he  would  have  told  us.  There  is  no  qualifi- 
cation in  the  one  case,  as  there  should  have  been  if  the  eternities 
were  not  the  same.  If  the  word  for  eternal  means  temporary  dur- 
ation in  the  one  proposition,  it  does  so  in  the  other  ;  if  real  eternity 
in  the  one,  it  means  real  eternity  in  the  other.  It  is  in  vain  to  say, 
"  that  which  is  eternal  is  not  always  everlasting,"  and  so  endeavor 
to  discriminate  between  everlasting  judging  and  the  eternal  effect 
of  a  judgment,  since  it  would  equally  apply  to  the  righteous  and 
the  wicked.  It  is  in  vain  to  speak  of  annihilation  as  part  of  eternal 
punishment,  since  it  is  no  punishment  to  the  tormented,  and  to 
speak  of  punishment  extending  beyond  existence  is  absurd  ;  and 
annihilation  might  just  as  much  be  eternal  happiness  to  the 
righteous  as  eternal  punishment  to  the  wicked.  It  is  in  vain,  too, 
to  go  back  to  other  expressions  in  Matthew's  writings  which  are 
supposed  to  be  in  opposition  to  this  one.  They  are  chiefly  figura- 
tive, and  amount  not  altogether  to  a  single  proposition  like  the  one 
9 


130  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

before  us  ;  and  should,  therefore,  be  interpreted  by  it,  and.  in  fact, 
are  in  harmony  with  it. 

The  second  text  is  in  Mark  ix.  44. 46,  48,  where  the  same  words 
occur  thrice,  "  Where  their  worm  dieth  not,  and  the  fire  is  not 
quenched."  Here  is  something  that  dieth  not,  and  something  that 
is  not  quenched,  and  both  spoken  of  in  reference  to  the  punishment 
of  the  wicked.  Upon  the  supposition  of  annihilation  after  suffering, 
the  "  worm,''  whatever  it  might  be,  of  the  wicked  must  die,  and  the 
fire  of  their  torment  be  quenched.  We  do  not  want  to  know  what 
i^eaning  such  words  might  have  in  the  writings  of  Isaiah,  but  what 
is  the  interpretation  which  Christ  put  upon  them,  and  the  impres- 
sion they  were  calculated  to  produce  in  the  minds  of  those  to  whom 
he  addressed  them  ?  They  are  not  certainly  such  words  as  he 
would  have  used  if  he  had  not  intended  to  produce  in  them  the 
fear  of  everlasting  torments.  "  For  every  one  shall  be  salted  with 
fire,"  which  immediately  follows  this  declaration,  Mr.  White  says, 
"perhaps  signifies  that  the  dead  bodies  of  the  wicked,  LIKE  THAT 
OF  Lot's  wife,  will  be  preserved  as  an  abiding  memorial  of  their 
awful  punishment  in  hell,  but  not  necessarily  for  an  absolute  eter- 
nity." This  is  a  comment  upon  Isaiah,  "And  they  shall  go  forth 
and  look  upon  the  carcases  of  the  transgressors !"  What  next  ? 
It  has  the  credit  at  least  of  keeping  to  the  literal  sense. 

For  these  and  other  reasons,  we  must  still  hold  to  the  immor- 
tality of  the  righteous  and  wicked  alike.  This  has  been  the  uni- 
versal belief  of  the  christian  church  since  the  days  of  the  apostles, 
nor  did  Christ  ever  say  one  word  against  this  so-called  "  dangerous 
heresy."  Greater  theologians  than  the  Annihilationists  of  the 
present  age,  such  as  Turretin,  Owen,  Jonathan  Edwards  and  George 
Whitfield,  have  held  it  and  preached  it.  The  doctrine  of  the  end- 
less misery  of  unregenerate  men  is  in  fact  a  consequent  of  the  other 
accepted  doctrines  of  revelation — if  not  endless,  our  estimate  of  the 
grace  of  God  in  redemption  must  be  materially  changed  ! 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  I31 

As  a  further  reason  for  holding  this  doctrine  (apart  from  the  texts 
of  scripture  quoted),  the  advocates  of  annihilationism  or  conditional 
immortality  use  very  much  the  same  language  as  Universalists  do, 
when  urging  for  the  ultimate  restoration  of  all  men  to  the  favor  of 
God.  That  countless  millions  of  the  human  race  should  be  tor- 
mented forever,  without  either  the  hope  of  death  or  deliverance,  is, 
they  say,  too  awful  for  thought.  The  attempt  to  conceive  it  agon- 
ises the  heart,  staggers  the  understanding,  and  exceeds  the  capacity 
of  belief  Such  an  amazing  infliction  of  woe  must  not  be  attributed 
to  the  merciful  and  glorious  God,  unless  He  expressly  declared  it 
in  so  many  words.  But  he  has  not  done  so.  A  hell  of  eternal 
misery  is  the  most  frightful  delusion  that  was  ever  presented  to  the 
mind.  The  Judge  of  all  the  earth  does  right,  but  this  would  be 
wrong. 

Our  answer  to  this  is,  if  an  eternity  of  misery  be  supposed  to  be 
contrary  to  both  the  justice  and  the  mercy  of  God,  much  more  may 
this  be  affirmed  of  temporary  punishment  and  subsequent  annihi- 
lation. Admit  the  immortality  of  the  human  race  to  have  been 
essential,  either  by  necessity  or  decree,  at  its  first  origin,  that  eter- 
nity was  a  foregone  conclusion  before  man  had  done  good  or  evil, 
and  that  the  consequences  on  either  side  must  be  eternal,  and  the 
eternity  of  punishment  becomes  inevitable.  Admit  THAT  IMMOR- 
TALITY WAS  A  GIFT  WHICH  GOD  COULD  RECALL,  THEN  HE  HOLDS 
CREATURES  IN  EXISTENCE  SOLELY  TO  TORMENT  THEM.  In  the 
one  case,  the  immortality  was  given  for  bliss  which  they  have  per- 
verted to  suffering  ;  in  the  other,  God  continues  them  in  being  that 
he  may  take  vengeance  upon  them  before  he  annihilates  them. 

As  to  the  moment  when  annihilation  takes  place,  and  as  to  the 
nature,duration  and  severity  of  suffering,  which  the  finally  impenitent 
must  undergo  before  the  last  moment  of  their  existence,  and  as  to 
the  means  by  which  they  will  be  put  out  of  existence,  they  tell  us 
nothing.  Difficulties  connected  with  such  matters  of  detail  as  to 
how  much  this  or  that  person  should  suffer,  they  leave  unsolved, 


132  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

being  confident  that  God  will  at  least  justify  all  his  proceedings  to 
the  entire  satisfaction  of  the  intelligent  universe.  This  much,  how- 
ever, they  are  assured  of,  that  neither  love,  justice,  nor  anything 
else,  requires  the  Creator  to  continue  to  a  creature  the  highest  trust 
that  can  be  committed  to  him,  that  of  life,  if  he  persistently 
abuses  it. 

While,  then,  we  do  not  put  Annihilationists,  or  those  who  believe 
in  conditional  immortality,  in  the  same  category  with  Materialists, 
it  is  very  evident  they  have  much  in  common.  Both  deny  that  the 
soul  in  its  essence  is  imperishable.  If  pure  spirit,  it  cannot  be  sub- 
ject to  decay  or  decomposition.  To  evade  this  difficulty,  by  calling 
the  soul  "  a  spiritual  substance,"  capable  of  annihilation,  is  to 
announce  a  theory  that  is  simply  self-contradictory  and  incom- 
prehensible. 

In  brief,  then,  Annihilationists  maintain  that  evil,  natural  and 
moral,  must  come  to  an  end.  According  to  the  government  of 
a  perfect  being  it  cannot  be  eternal.  This  end  will  be  brought 
about,  not  by  all  being  restored  to  God's  favor,  as  is  taught  by 
Universalists,  but  by  the  destruction  of  the  wicked.  The  penalty 
Df  sin,  according  to  this  theory,  is  death — the  return  of  man,  body 
and  soul,  to  the  earth  from  which  he  came.  This  punishment  of 
annihilation  is,  however,  to  be  regarded  as  a  merciful  arrangement 
received  at  the  hands  of  God,  whose  mercy  is  co-equal  with  His 
judgment,  and  who  will  suffer  them  to  go  back  to  their  original 
slements  and  cease  from  existence,  as  entitled  to  neither  name  nor 
place  in  all  the  universe  of  God.  It  need  not  be  accompanied  b}- 
conscious  pain.  It  is  simply  excision — a  cutting  off  from  life — 
sternal  privation  of  being. 

Instead  of  taking  up  and  examining  passages  of  scripture,  as  wc 
have  done,  if  we  can  show  a  single  instance  in  which  the  immor- 
tality of  the  wicked  is  taught  side  by  side  with  that  of  the  righteous, 
the  folly  and  falsity  of  Annihilationism  will  be  shown.  The  parable 
of  the  rich  man  and  Lazarus  is  of  such  a  class.     There,  if  anywhere. 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  I  33 

it  is  taught  that  the  dead  are  conscious,  that  the  souls  of  all  men 
are  immortal,  and  that  on  leaving  this  world  all  men  go  at  once 
into  a  state  of  blessedness  or  joy,  or  of  torment  that  is  absolutely 
unchangeable  and  eternal.  It  contrasts  the  condition  of  men,  here 
and  hereafter,  who  live  for  self-indulgence.  It  shows  the  result  of 
reckless  abuse  of  God's  temporal  gifts  ;  indifference  to  the  claims 
of  the  poor,  and  forgetfulness  of  a  future  existence,  where  men  shall 
be  rewarded  or  punished,  according  to  the  deeds  done  in  the  body. 
Some  give  to  it  an  allegorical  interpretation,  as  setting  forth  the 
relations  between  Jews  and  Gentiles.  The  rich  man,  according  to 
this  theory,  represents  the  Jewish  nation.  His  being  clad  in  purple 
and  fine  linen,  indicates  the  abundant  blessings,  material  and  spir- 
itual, which  they  enjoyed  above  others.  Lazarus,  the  beggar,  repre- 
sents the  Gentile  world.  His  sores  are  the  sins  of  the  Pagan  world, 
spoken  of  in  Romans  i.  23,  32.  The  hard-heartedness  of  the  rich 
man  toward  the  beggar  refers  to  the  stolid  indifference  of  the  Jews 
toward  the  perishing  heathen,  who  regarded  themselves  as  alone 
included  in  the  covenant  of  promise.  The  death  and  punishment 
of  the  rich  man  illustrates  the  final  issue  of  the  Jewish  economy, 
and  the  dispersion  of  the  Jews  for  their  blindness  and  unbelief.  The 
death  of  Lazarus  and  his  reception  into  Abraham's  bosom,  marks 
the  entrance  of  the  Gentile  world  upon  the  possession  of  gospel 
privileges  ;  and  the  five  brethren  are  all  who,  like  the  Jewish  nation 
in  later  days,  refuse  salvation  on  the  plea  of  want  of  evidence,  and 
abuse  God's  compassion  and  long  suffering  by  continuance  in  sin. 
Now  some  of  these  applications  may  be  true,  but  Christ  in  this  par- 
able teaches  far  more  practical  lessons  for  nominal  professors  of 
Christianity  in  modern  times.  "  He  places  an  ordinary  world  scene 
in  such  a  focus,  that  the  monotonous  buzz  and  din  and  common- 
place of  the  life  that  is,  comes  echoed  back  in  terrific  thunder  tones 
from  the  endless  vista  of  the  life  to  come,  showing  how  the  mortal 
humanity  reaches  onward  and  becomes  the  immortal  humanity, 
inhabiting  eternity  ;"  that  if  men  will  live  merely  for  the  gratifica- 


134  FUTURE   I'UNISIIMENT. 

tion  of  the  senses,  regardless  of  the  claims  of  others,  and  making 
no  provision  for  eternity,  they  shall  reap  the  bitter  fruit  of  their 
unbelief  in  a  world  of  endless  woe. 

The  question  of  an  intermediate  state  need  not  now  be  argued, 
although  much  may  be  said  in  tavor  of  it,  from  the  language  of  the 
parable.  What  it  does  emphatically  teach  is  the  eternal  existence 
of  the  wicked  equally  with  the  good.  The  rich  man  having  died 
and  been  buried,  "  in  hell,  or  hades,  lifted  up  his  eyes,  being  in 
torment."  Now  while  the  word  "  hades "  literally  means  the 
"  unseen,"  and  might  be  translated  the  spirit  world,  without  regard 
to  the  character  of  those  who  inhabit  it,  it  is  only  used  to  indicate 
death  or  the  grave  on  the  one  hand,  or  the  abode  of  the  lost  on  the 
other.  Hades  is  the  abode  of  the  ungodly  after  death.  Nowhere 
are  believers  said  to  be  in  this  place.  If  we  suppose  that  the  scene 
is  laid  in  the  middle  state,  between  death  and  the  judgment,  it 
teaches  that  the  impenitent  live  on  and  suffer.  Between  the  place 
of  torment  and  paradise  "a  great  gulf  is  fixed" — fixed  for  eternity. 
So  that  if  even  in  "  hades  "  before  the  resurrection  and  judgment,  all 
help  and  hope  is  so  utterly  excluded,  what  must  it  be  in  GEHENNA, 
the  final  doom  of  lost  souls,  after  the  resurrection  of  the  body,  the 
resurrection  of  damnation,  "  and  the  final  judgment  ?" 

In  the  light  of  these  preliminary  remarks,  let  us  look  at  the 
parable. 

"  There  was  a  certain  rich  man,  which  was  clothed  in  purple  and 
fine  linen,  and  fared  sumptuously  every  day."  He  was  no  miser. 
He  did  not  hoard  up  the  blessings  of  heaven,  but  lived  in  jovial 
splendor.  He  was  dressed  in  the  purple  of  kings,  and  in  linen  that 
was  worth  its  weight  in  gold.  The  fact  of  his  being  rich  is  not, 
however,  charged  against  him  as  a  sin,  nor  his  gorgeous  raiment, 
nor  his  generous  hospitality.  No  moral  accusation  or  crime  is  laid 
to  his  charge.  So  far  as  we  know  he  had  got  his  money  honestly 
— not  by  robbing  the  poor,  nor  by  unjust  merchandise,  nor  profit- 
able bankruptcies,  but  by  honorable  industry.     What,  then,  was 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 35 

his  sin  ?  "  There  was  a  certain  beggar  named  Lazarus,  which  was 
laid  at  his  gate,  full  of  sores,  and  desiring  to  be  fed  with  the  crumbs 
which  fell  from  the  rich  man's  table.  Moreover  the  dogs  came  and 
licked  his  sores."  Nothing  is  said  of  the  former  history  of  this 
beggar.  Probably  he  was  laid  at  the  gate  of  the  rich  man  by  friends 
whose  ability  longer  to  support  him  was  exhausted.  The  rich 
man's  indifference  to  the  beggar  cannot  be  excused.  Lazarus  was 
at  his  gate,  within  sight  and  reach.  He  was  not  only  poor,  but 
sorely  afflicted  with  a  loathsome  disease,  probably  produced  or 
aggravated  by  hunger  and  want.  His  demands  were  not  great. 
He  did  not  seek  admission  to  the  rich  man's  dwelling,  nor  a  place 
at  his  table.  He  merely  asked  the  crumbs  that  fell  from  his  tabic. 
Yet  this  was  denied  him.  No  kind  word  was  spoken,  and  no  hand 
of  mercy  stretched  out  to  the  dying  beggar.  The  dogs  licked  his 
sores,  while  his  brother  man  refused  him  pity.  There  he  lay  day 
after  day,  patiently  suffering,  and  waiting  release  from  the  ills  of 
life.  "It  came  to  pass  that  the  beggar  died  and  was  carried  by  the 
angels  into  Abraham's  bosom."  Providence  mercifully  interposed 
and  shortened  his  days  of  misery.  Nothing  is  said  regarding  the 
circumstances  of  his  death.  Says  a  living  preacher  :  "  I  think  I  sec 
the  picture.  The  ulcers  had  eaten  deep  into  the  vitals,  and  the  soft 
tongues  of  the  dogs  could  not  probe  to  the  root  of  the  disease  ;  the 
eyes  became  more  sunken,  and  the  cheeks  more  hollow,  and  the 
fingers  of  death  set  their  mark  on  every  limb  and  look.  The  ser- 
vants perhaps  noticed  the  change,  feeling  thankful  that  they  would 
soon  be  delivered  from  such  an  odious  bundle  of  rags  and  sores. 
At  last  the  hour  came.  Very  likely  there  was  high  feasting  within, 
and  the  guests  congratulated  each  other  and  praised  their  host, 
while  the  music  streamed  through  the  open  doors  to  the  ears  ot  the 
dying  beggar.  Hunger  was  gnawing  at  the  roots  of  life,  and  the 
sores  were  giving  their  last  stings.  There  was  no  cool,  friendly 
hand  laid  upon  his  brow — no  draught  to  still  the  pain — no  soft  kiss 
of  affection  to  mitigate  the  final  encounter  with  the  king  of  terrors. 


f3<5  FUTURE    rUNISHMENT. 

The  pulse  gets  weaker  and  the  breath  longer  drawn,  and  the  stones 
which  serve  as  a  pillow  seem  harder  than  before,  a  little  longer  the 
spirit  struggles,  one  more  convulsive  throb,  the  chin  falls  on  the 
breast,  and  Lazarus  is  dead."  The  "  Pauper's  Deathbed "  of 
Southcy  vividly  describes  the  scene  : 

"  Tread  softly  !  bow  the  head 

In  reverent  silence  now  ! 
No  passing  bell  doth  toll  ; 
Yet  an  immortal  soul 

Is  passing  now. 

That  pavement  damp  and  cold 

No  smiling  courtiers  tread  : 
One  silent  woman  stands, 
Lifting  with  meagre  hands, 

A  dying  head. 

O  !  change,  O  !  wondrous  change  ! 

Burst  are  the  prison  bars ! 
This  moment  there,  so  low 
So  agonised — and  now 

Beyond  the  stars  !" 

He  had  doubtless  the  usual  pauper's  burial,  analagous  to  that 
of  modern  timea 

"  Rattle  his  bones,  over  the  stones, 
It's  only  a  pauper,  whom  nobody  owns  ;" 

but  what  mattered  it,  for  "the  new  immortality  waked  with  God." 
"The  rich  man  also  died,  and  was  buried."  His  wealth  did  not 
secure  him  a  perpetual  lease  of  existence  ;  whether  vv^hen  too  late 
he  awoke  to  realise  his  condition,  or  remained  skeptical  of  a  future 
world,  we  are  not  informed.  Doubtless  his  death  was  deeply  re- 
gretted among  a  certain  class.  The  body  was  laid  out  in  state,  and 
was  followed  to  the  grave  by  a  long  cortege  of  mourners,  who  rent 
their  garments  and  lamented  in  Oriental  fashion.  Dust  to  dust  and 
ashes  to  ashes,  and  the  scene  now  changes,  "  In  hell  or  hades,  he 
lifted  up  his  eyes,  being  in  torment,  and  seeth  Abraham  afar  off, 


The  Punishment  allotted  to  evil  counsellors  and  those  who  have  abused; their  talents. 

^.^^  —The  Inferno  Canto  xxvi 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 37 

and  Lazarus  In  his  bosom."  While  this  language  does  not  proba- 
bly refer  to  the  sufferings  of  the  impenitent  dead,  after  the  resur- 
rection and  final  judgment,  it  seems  clearly  to  teach  that  so  soon 
as  the  soul  passes  from  time  to  eternity,  there  begins  that  soul 
anguish,  for  which  there  is  no  alleviation.  No  consolation  can  be 
deduced  from  such  a  passage  in  favor  of  the  doctrine  of  annihilation. 
Whatever  opinion  may  be  entertained  of  the  nature  of  the  suffer- 
ings that  await  the  impenitent  sinner — whether  the  accusations  of 
an  accusing  and  maddened  conscience  or  otherwise,  the  parable 
teaches  that  punishment  of  some  kind  begins  immediately  after 
death,  and  that  this  is  inflicted  upon  the  disembodied  spirit  prior 
to  the  resurrection. 

The  rich  man  now  fully  realises  his  position.  The  misery  and 
agony  that  he  now  experiences,  is  in  fearful  contrast  to  his  life  of 
pleasure  and  gayety.  In  hell  and  in  torments  he  cries  :"  Father 
Abraham,  have  mercy  on  me,  and  send  Lazarus  that  he  may 
dip  the  tip  of  his  finger  in  water,  and  cool  my  tongue,  for  I 
am  tormented  in  this  flame."  Paradise,  according  to  a  Jewish  tra- 
dition, is  removed  from  hell  only  by  a  hairbreadth,  so  that  one  could 
see  from  one  to  the  other.  We  trust  this  is  only  tradition,  for  the 
sights  would  be  anything  but  pleasing  to  the  saints.  The  request 
of  the  rich  man,  though  small  was  denied.  There  is  no  hope  now 
for  mercy.  In  his  life  he  had  shown  none.  "Thou  in  thy  life 
received  good  things,  and  likewise  Lazarus  evil  things,  but  now  he 
is  comforted  and  thou  art  tormented."  Not  only  so,  continued 
Abraham,  but  "  between  us  and  you  there  is  a  great  gulf  fixed,  so 
that  they  that  would  pass  from  hence  to  you  cannot,  neither  can 
they  pass  to  us  that  would  come  from  you."  Finally  there  comes 
the  request  for  his  brethren  (v.  27,  31).  He  feels  his  own  condition 
hopeless  ;  it  is  blank  despair,  without  one  ray  of  hope.  His  breth- 
ren are  Sadducees,  as  he  was  himself.  They  believed  in  no  future 
existence  nor  day  of  reckoning.  If  Lazarus  cannot  cross  the  im- 
passable gulf  between  paradise  and  hades,  he  may  return  to  earth 


138  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

and  testify  of  what  he  has  seen  in  the  world  of  woe.  Abraham's 
reply  is  reasonable,  but  decided.  Salvation  is  an  utter  impossibility 
unless  through  faith  in  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  and  a  saving  recep- 
tion of  the  gospel,  "  They  have  Moses  and  the  prophets."  These 
were  sufficient,  they  were  the  appointed  means  for  the  conversion 
of  the  world.  Miracles  never  were  intended,  and  never  could  of 
themselves  produce  a  saving  change  of  mind.  So  far  from  repent- 
ing, says  Abraham,  by  a  visit  of  one  from  the  dead,  "  If  they  hear 
not  Moses  and  the  prophets,  neither  will  they  be  persuaded,  though 
one  rose  from  the  dead." 

Such  in  brief  is  the  picture  presented  of  the  conscious  existence 
of  an  impenitent  soul  beyond  death.  But  you  say,  "It  is  a  parable." 
Supposing  it  is.  What  then  ?  All  of  Christ's  parables  are  natural, 
and  based  upon  actual  facts.  Regarded  thus,  the  parable  teaches 
clearly,  that  God  will  deal  with  the  two  great  classes  of  men  in  the 
world  according  to  the  portion  of  the  parties  named  in  the  parable. 
The  experiences  of  the  rich  man  and  Lazarus  are  what  shall  be  the 
respective  condition  of  the  good  and  the  bad.  There  is  a  dividing 
line,  here  and  hereafter.  The  space  between  them  shall  remain  the 
same,  but  the  bad  will  go  down,  and  the  good  will  go  up.  Those 
who  are  happy  here  in  the  enjoyment  of  carnal  pleasures,  will  be 
unhappy  there.  The  parable,  if  it  is  only  such,  teaches  substan- 
tially this  truth, — that  the  wicked  shall  live  on  forever  in  conscious 
misery.  If  the  unbelieving  and  unsaved  are  annihilated  at  or  after 
death,  the  parable  has  no  meaning  whatever.  Christ  would  then  be 
leading  his  hearers  to  believe  in  a  state  of  things  after  death  that 
was  unreal — a  presumption  that  it  is  impossible  for  any  christian 
or  candid  mind  to  entertain. 

But  we  object  to  this  narrative  being  called  a  parable,  in  the 
ordinary  sense  of  the  word.  A  parable,  according  to  the  most 
approved  definition,  is  a  placing  beside,  or  together,  a  comparing. 
But  there  is  no  comparison  of  any  kind  here,  and  to  attempt  to 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 39 

form  comparisons,  as  we  have  seen,  is  unwarranted.  Surely  when 
the  rich  man  says,  "  I  am  tormented,"  it  is  more  than  fancy  ?  And 
when  Abraham  says  :  "  There  is  ^  great  gulf  fixed,  so  that  they 
which  would  pass  from  hence  to  you  cannot,  neither  can  they  pass 
to  us  that  would  come  from  thence,"  he  cannot  mean  that  a  change 
of  state  or  annihilation  of  existence  is  possible  ?  If  such  a  mode  of 
interpretation  is  allowable,  Christ's  teachings  are  of  no  value  what- 
ever, and  the  Bible  utterly  unworthy  of  belief  regarding  a  future 
world.  But  if  we  regard  it  as  giving  us  under  parabolic  form  the 
real  experience  of  God's  poor  and  Satan's  rich  ones,  here  and  here- 
after, the  whole  is  consistent  and  harmonious.  Our  Lord  nowhere 
describes  it  as  a  parable,  but  as  an  actual  occurrence  ;  the  punish- 
ment is  more  than  allegory,  and  the  parties  are  represented  as  real 
men.  It  would  seem  as  if  the  Holy  Spirit  had  taken  these  precau- 
tions to  guard  against  the  glosses  and  falsehoods  of  Annihilationism 
and  Restorationism  alike. 

Let  us  then  practically  regard  this  parable  as  teaching  that  reck- 
less licentiousness,  disregard  of  the  sufferings  and  wants  of  others, 
and  disbelief  in  the  existence  of  the  soul  after  death,  cannot  change 
the  inflexible  decrees  of  God.  Nor  are  we  to  judge  of  a  man's  con- 
dition in  the  future  from  what  he  suffers  in  the  present.  Poverty, 
bodily  ailments  and  cruel  treatment  are  frequently  the  heritage  of 
heirs  of  glory.  Riches,  honors  and  sensual  gratification  are  often 
the  present  possession  of  the  ungodly  and  profane.  "  It  doth  not 
yet  appear  what  we  shall  be."  And  finally,  the  memory  of  a  wasted 
and  unthankful  life  must  add  immeasurably  to  the  torments  of  the 
lost.  God's  mercy  cannot  triumph  over  his  justice.  Praying  to 
saints,  either  here  or  in  hell,  is  of  no  avail — nay,  not  even  though 
our  appeals  could  reach  the  Saviour's  ears.  Thomas  Hood,  in  his 
poem,  "  The  Lady's  Dream,"  in  which  she  imagines  herself  dead, 
and  reviews  her  unfeeling  and  selfish  life  face  to  face  with  "  the 
pleading  looks  of  those  she  formerly  despised,  puts  these  verses 
in  her  mouth  : 


I40  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

"  No  need  of  sulphureous  lake, 

No  need  of  fiery  coal  ; 
But  only  that  crowd  of  human  kind 

Who  wanted  pity  and  dole — 
In  everlasting  retrospect — 

Will  wring  my  sinful  soul ! 

I  drank  the  richest  draughts  ; 

And  ate  whatever  is  good — 
Fish,  and  flesh,  and  fowl,  and  fruit, 

Supplied  my  hungry  mood  ; 
But  I  never  remembered  the  wretched  ones 

That  starve  for  want  of  food  ! 

I  dressed  as  the  nobles  dress, 
In  cloth  of  silver  and  gold  ; 

With  silk,  and  satin,  and  costly  furs 
In  many  an  ample  fold. 

But  I  never  remembered  the  naked  limbs 
That  froze  with  winter's  cold. 

Alas  !  I  have  walked  through  life, 
Too  heedless  where  I  trod  ; 

Nay,  helping  to  trample  my  fellow  worm, 
And  fill  the  burial  sod  ; 

Forgetting  that  even  the  sparrow  falls, 
Not  unmarked  of  God  !  " 


CONDITIONAL  BniORTALITY. 


By  the  Rev  Wm.  McLaren  D.  D.,  Professor  of  System.4.tic 
Theology,  Knox  College,  Toronto. 


^  HERE  are  few  topics  of  importance  upon   which  the 


,1 Y      Christian  Church  has  spoken  with  greater  decision  than 
'I     on  the  eternity  of  future  punishments.     In  all  its  lead- 


ing sections,  it  has  taught  that  those'  dying  in  their 
sins  shall  endure  unending  penal  sufferings,  varying  in  de- 
gree, according  to  the  measure  of  their  personal  ill-desert. 
In  all  its  branches,  Latin  and  Greek,  Lutheran  and  Reformed,  Cal- 
vinistic  and  Arminian,  it  has  uttered  one  voice.  This  unanimity 
cannot  be  regarded  as  due  to  the  unthinking  reception  of  a  dogma 
handed  down  from  the  past.  The  interests  involved  are  too 
momentous,  and  come  too  closely  home  to  every  heart,  to  admit  of 
such  an  explanation.  It  is,  moreover,  certain  that  the  leading  views 
now  embraced  by  those  who  reject  the  eternity  of  future  punish- 
ments, were  presented  to  the  Church,  before  the  close  of  the  third 
century,  by  authors  of  sufficient  reputation  to  secure  for  their  sen- 
timents careful  attention.  Origen,  Clement  of  Alexandria,  and  a 
few  others,  taught  the  final  restoration  of  all  free  agents  to  holiness 
and  the  favor  of  God.  And  Arnobius,  a  little  later,  maintained  the 
annihilation  of  the  wicked.  This  distinguished  convert  from  heath- 
enism was  a  disciple  of  Lucretius,  and  he  appears  to  have  brought 
his  master's  materialistic  philosophy  with  him  into  the  Christian 


T42  FUTURK    I'UNISHMENT. 

church.     But  while  both  these  views  were  so   early  set  forth  with 
ability,  the  faith  of  the  Church  remained  unchanged. 

In  our  own  day,  marked  attention  has  been  directed  to  the  final 
destiny  of  the  wicked.  The  immemorial  doctrine  of  the  Church 
has  been  assailed  from  opposite  sides,  by  Restorationists  and  Anni- 
hilationists,  with  a  vehemence  of  assertion  which  their  mutually 
contradictory  interpretations  of  scripture  do  not  seem  to  abate. 
We  purpose  examining  the  views  of  those  who  hold  the  annihilation 
of  the  wicked,  or,  as  they  generally  prefer  to  call  it,  the  doctrine  of 
Conditional  Immortality. 

This  doctrine  assumes  various  phases.  Some  maintain  that  the 
souls  of  the  wicked  cease  to  exist  at  death,  and  that  no  resurrection 
awaits  those  who  die  out  of  Christ.  This  view,  however,  contra- 
dicts so  clearly  what  the  scriptures  teach  respecting  the  punishment 
of  sin,  the  state  of  the  soul  after  death,  and  the  resurrection  of  the 
body,  that  the  number  who  embrace  it  is  comparatively  small.  It 
may  in  some  respects  be  more  consistent  with  the  views  generally 
enunciated  by  Annihilationists,  than  that  which  they  more  com- 
monly accept,  but  its  antagonism  to  scripture  is  so  obvious,  that 
.ew  seem  prepared  to  avow  their  belief  in  it.  The  more  ordinary 
form  of  the  doctrine,  to  which  we  shall  confine  our  attention,  is  that 
embraced  by  such  writers  as  the  Rev.  Edward  White,  Samuel 
Minton,  and  Henry  Constable,  in  England,  and  C.  F.  Hudson  and 
others,  in  America.  These  writers,  while  differing  from  each  other 
on  minor  matters,  agree  on  maintaining  the  following  positions,  viz. : 

1st.  That  the  death  threatened  to  man  in  Eden,  on  account  of 
sin,  is  the  extinction  of  his  being.  When  man  dies  he  ceases  to 
exist.  They  suppose  that  his  entire  being  was  naturally  mortal, 
but  might  have  become  immortal  by  obedience,  and  the  consequent 
participation  of  the  tree  of  life. 

2nd.  That  the  righteous  are  through  the  incarnation  and  the 
work  of  Christ,  rendered  immortal.     Hence  they  speak  of  CONDI- 


CONDITIONAL    IMMORTALITY.  I43 

TIONAL  Immortality,  by  which  they  mean  that  eternal  existence, 
in  the  case  of  man,  is  CONDITIONED  on  his  union  to  Christ.  All 
who  reject  Christ,  or  come  short  of  an  interest  in  him,  are  blotted 
out  of  existence. 

3rd.  That  there  shall  be  a  general  resurrection  and  judgment  of 
the  whole  human  race,  and  the  wicked,  having  been  raised  up,  shall 
have  inflicted  on  them  such  punishment  as  will  issue  in  their  anni- 
hilation, or  in  the  final  extinction  of  their  being.  Some  suppose 
that  this  issue  will  likely  occur  immediately  after  the  general 
judgment,  and  others  that  it  will  be  reached  only  after  a  period  of 
sufferings,  protracted,  it  may  be,  for  "  ages  of  ages." 

The  importance  of  this  discuesion  is  apparent  at' the  first  glance, 
and  a  careful  study  of  the  relation  which  one  part  of  the  system 
of  truth  sustains  to  another,  deepens  our  sense  of  its  vital 
nature.  Edward  White  repudiates  the  notion  that  the  agita- 
tion, which  he  is  aiding,  deals  merely  with  the  "simple  question  of 
the  retribution  of  sin."  "  It  is  a  movement,"  he  says,  "  for  the  re- 
construction of  anthropology  and  theology  from  one  end  to  the 
other." — Vide  Report  of  Conference,  page  31. 

In  this  discussion  we  shall  appeal,  not  to  philosophy,  but  to 
Divine  Revelation.  There  can  be  no  doubt,  however,  that  the 
doctrine  of  "Conditional  Immortality"  is  linked  so  closely  in  the 
minds  ot  its  advocates,  with  a  peculiar  philosophy  of  human  nature, 
that  they  seem  unable  to  read  the  Scriptures,  save  through  the 
glass  which  their  philosophy  supplies. 

There  are  two  views  of  human  nature,  radically  distinct,  on 
which  the  Scriptures  cast  some  light,  and  which  cannot  but  influ- 
ence the  manner  in  which  we  regard  the  points  raised  in  this 
discussion. 

The  common  view  of  mankind,  and  of  the  Christian  church,  is 
that  two  distinct  substances,  mind  and  matter,  or  soul  and  body, 
are  united  in  man.     And  while  the  personality  resides  in  the  higher 


I'H  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

nature,  which  we  speak  of  as  the  soul  or  spirit,  the  properties  of 
each  nature  are  predicated  of  the  person,  so  that  we  recognize 
them  as  pecuHarly  our  own.  If  this  view  of  the  nature  of  man  is 
correct,  physical  death  may  be  nothing  but  the  result  of  the  separa- 
tion of  soul  and  body.  And  the  dissolution  of  the  body,  consequent 
upon  this  separation,  supplies  no  presumption  that  the  soul,  which 
consciousness  reveals  as  one  and  indivisible,  is  subject  either  to 
decay  or  dissolution. 

The  second  view  is  that  presented  by  Materialism,  which  ignores 
or  denies  the  distinction  between  mind  and  matter.  This  philos- 
ophy regards  the  soul  as  a  function  of  the  body,  and  views  thought 
as  the  product  of  highly  organized  matter.  Those  who  embrace 
this  system  necessarily  believe  that  when  the  body  is  dissolved  by 
death,  the  soul  ceases  to  exist.  The  elements,  which  combined 
make  up  the  organism  called  man,  are  at  death  separated,  and  enter 
into  new  combinations,  and  go  to  make  up  other  organisms. 

Adam  was  as  much  non-existent  after  his  death  as  before  his 
creation.  The  elements  out  of  which  he  was  formed  alone  remained. 
White  and  Hudson  avoid  committing  themselves  definitely  to 
Materialism,  but  the  drift  of  their  statements  and  reasonings  is  un- 
mistakeable.  Hudson  speaks  of  "the  prevalence  of  a  materialistic 
philosophy  which  has  frequently  attended  the  doctrine  which  we 
maintain,"  and  he  states  it  as  his  opinion,  "  that  speculative  Mater- 
ialism is  not  to  be  for  itself  condemned." — Debt  and  Grace,  pages 
243,  246.  But  this  Materialistic  view  of  man's  nature,  even  where 
it  is  not  openly  avowed,  underlies  the  doctrine  of  "  Conditional 
Immortality,"  and  rules  the  interpretations  of  Scripture  given  by 
its  advocates. 

In  this  paper,  passing  over  matters  of  subsidiary  importance, 
I  shall  confine  attention  to  one  or  two  central  points,  on  which  the 
whole  discussion  chiefly  turns.  The  controversy  hinges  largely 
upon  the  meaning  which  the  advocates  of  Conditional  Immortality 


CONDITIONAL    IMMORTALITY.  I45 

attach  to  DEATH,  as  threatened  in  Eden,  and  spoken  of  in  scripture 
generally  as  the  penalty  of  sin.  "  In  the  day  thou  eatest  thereof 
thou  shalt  surely  die," — Genesis  ii.  17.  Rev.  Samuel  Minton,  who 
speaks  with  some  degree  of  authority  for  Annihilationists,  says  : 
"  Most  of  us  would  be  willing  to  stake  our  whole  case  on  the  natural 
and  prima  facie  meanings  of  the  words  Life  and  Death,  Immortality 
and  Destruction.  These  and  their  cognates  are  the  key  words  of 
the  controversy." — Report  of  Conference,  page  14.  We  have  no 
objection  to  the  issue  thus  raised,  provided  all  the  evidence  bearing 
upon  it  is  fairly  examined,  and  the  confident  assertions  of  Annihi- 
lationists are  not  substituted  for  proofs.  According  to  the  common 
judgment  of  Christendom,  the  THREATENING  included  death  tem- 
poral, spiritual  and  eternal,  or  to  state  the  matter  in  another  way, 
death  is  penal  evil  inflicted,  according  to  the  righteous  measure  of 
the  Great  Judge,  upon  man's  complex  nature.  According  to  Anni- 
hilationists, man  who  came  from  the  dust  returns,  at  death,  to  dust. 
He  is  resolved,  as  one  of  their  writers  has  it,  "  into  his  elemental 
atoms."  Minton  assures  us  that  "  Adam  must  have  understood  the 
death  penalty  to  mean  the  entire  deprivation  of  being." — Report  of 
Conference,  page  12.  Another  writes,  "The  first  man  is  out  of  ihe 
earth,  and  the  final  destiny  of  man,  as  a  man  and  a  sinner,  is  to 
return  unto  the  earth,  and  to  become  as  though  he  had  not  been." 
— Quest,  of  Ages,  page  135.  White  intimates  that  Adam  learned 
the  meaning  of  the  threatening  from  his  observation  of  death  among 
the  lower  animals,  and  he  informs  us  that  at  death  "  the  animals,  as 
individual  beings,  utterly  and  wholly  cease  to  be." — Life  in  Christ, 
page  23. 

The  question  which  we  have  to  decide  is  whether,  when  the 
Scriptures  speak  of  death  as  the  penalty  of  sin,  or  when  they  use 
the  word  in  its  ordinary  and  primary  sense  in  reference  to  man, 
they  mean  "his  entire  deprivation  of  being"  ; — whether,  when  they 

speak  of  him  as  dead,  they  mean  that  he  "has  utterly  and  wholly 
10 


146  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

ceased  to  be".  How  then  shall  we  determine  the  meaning  of  the 
threatening  in  Genesis  ii.  17?  The  natural  way  would  seem  to  be 
to  examine  the  record  in  which  the  threatening  occurs,  and  to  ascer- 
tain what  light  is  thus  thrown  upon  it ;  and  then  seek  to  discover 
the  manner  in  which  the  Scriptures  elsewhere  employ  the  wc^rd 
DEATH,  and  its  correlative  LIFE.  This  course  does  not  seem  to 
commend  itself  to  the  advocates  of  Conditional  Immortality. 

They  suggest  various  ways  of  determining  the  force  of  the 
threatening,  which  labor  under  the  serious  infirmity  of  assuming 
as  certain  what  requires  to  be  proved,  and  what  sometimes,  more- 
over, admits  of  no  proof. 

White  assures  us,  and  Constable  agrees  with  him,  that  Adam 
must  have  understood  the  word  Death,  as  he  was  accustomed  to 
employ  it,  "  in  his  short  use  of  language  in  relation  to  the  animal 
system  around  him  " — page  112.  In  other  words,  he  must  have 
understood  death  to  be  the  same  to  a  rational  and  moral  being  that 
it  is  to  irrational  creatures.  And  as  White  affirms  that  at  death 
animals  "  as  individual  beings,  utterly  and  wholly  cease  to  be," — 
page  23 — death  to  man  must  be  the  extinction  of  his  being.  This 
reasoning  implies  :  ist.  That  Adam,  before  he  received  this  threat- 
ening, had  witnessed  death  among  the  lower  animals,  which  is  quite 
uncertain.  2nd.  That  what  he  knew  of  the  import  of  the  threaten- 
ing was  gathered  from  the  words  recorded  in  Genesis,  and  from 
what  he  had  observed  in  the  animal  system  around  him,  which  is 
also  quite  uncertain  ;  and  3rd,  That  Adam  knew  that  death  is  the 
termination  of  existence  to  the  lower  animals.  If  he  knew  this,  he 
had  learned  what  Bishop  Butler,  long  after,  had  not  discovered. 
That  profound  thinker,  in  his  Analogy,  writes :  "  Nor  can  we  find 
any  thing  throughout  the  whole  analogy  of  Nature  to  afford  us  even 
the  slightest  presumption  that  animals  ever  lose  their  living  powers, 
much  less,  if  it  were  possible,  that  they  lose  them  by  death,  for  we 
have  MO  faculties  wherewith  to  trace  any  beyond,  or  through  it,  so 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  I47 

as  to  see  what  becomes  of  them." — Page  17.  If  Adam  knew  that 
the  lower  animals  cease  to  exist  at  death,  he  knew  what  no  process 
of  observation  could  teach  him,  and  which  we  ourselves  do  not  know, 
unless  it  be  through  revelation  made  long  subsequent  to  the  time 
of  Adam.  And  if  he  had  a  revelation,  of  which  there  is  no  record, 
to  teach  him  that  the  beasts  cease  to  exist  at  death,  may  he  not 
have  had  a  revelation  of  an  opposite  kind  in  reference  to  himself 
and  his  posterity  ?  If  he  was  informed  that  the  spirit  of  the  beast 
goeth  downward,  may  he  not  at  the  same  time  have  been  taught 
that  the  spirit  of  man  goeth  upward  ?     Ecclesiastes  iii.,  21. 

So  far  as  observation  goes,  what  takes  place,  when  a  good  man 
and  when  a  beast  dies,  is  the  same.  All  signs  of  life  and  activity 
disappear,  and  physical  decay  sets  in.  If  this  proves  that  the  brutes 
cease  to  exist,  it  proves  the  same  in  reference  to  good  men  ;  yet 
Annihilationists,  like  White  and  Hudson,  maintain  that  good  men, 
in  virtue  of  their  union  to  Christ,  do  not  entirely  cease  to  be  at 
death.  And  if  it  must  be  admitted  that  what  is  observed  proves 
nothing  in  regard  to  the  continued  existence,  or  non-existence  of 
men  or  of  beasts,  it  is  only  candid  to  say  so.  We  are  reminded, 
however,  that  there  are  reasons  why  death  does  not  end  the  being 
of  those  who  are  in  Christ,  which  do  not  apply  to  the  lower  animals. 
We  reply  (i),  that  these  reasons  could  not  be  learned  from  obser- 
vation of  what  transpires  in  the  animal  system  around  us,  and  (2), 
that  there  are  reasons  in  the  very  constitution  of  man  as  a  moral, 
intelligent  and  responsible  free  agent,  which  bespeak  for  the  race 
an  endless  existence,  reasons  which  cannot  be  supposed  in  the 
case  of  the  lower  animals. 

This  mode  of  determining  the  meaning  of  the  threatening 
ignores  the  important  distinction  between  man  and  the  lower  ani- 
mals recognized  in  the  record  of  creation,  and  assumes  that  Adam 
learned  from  observation  what  no  observation  could  teach. 


T4S  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

But  White  and  Constable  support  their  views  of  the  threatening 
b}-  an  assumption,  which  they  probably  mistake  for  reasoning,  viz  : 
that  Adam  must  have  understood  the  threatening  to  mean  the 
extinction  of  his  being  for  ever,  or  death  in  its  primary  meaning,  as 
he  had  learned  it  from  the  animal  sj-stem  around  him,  otherwise  it 
would  have  been  unjust  in  God  to  inflict  the  penalty.  This  is 
begging  the  question,  and  something  worse.  What  requires  to  be 
proved  is,  that  death  in  the  primary  and  ordinary  sense  of  the  word 
is  the  cessation  of  existence.  This  we  have  seen  could  not  have 
been  learned  from  observation.  And  if  a  revelation  was  necessary 
to  make  Adam  know  that  the  penalty  threatened  is  "  the  entire 
deprivation  of  being,"  what  but  a  tacit  assumption  of  what  requires 
to  be  proved,  prevents  these  writers  from  perceiving  that  the  same 
method  of  instruction  was  equally  suited  to  inform  him  that  death 
is  to  be  understood  in  the  pregnant  sense,  required  in  many  parts 
of  Scripture,  and  even  by  the  narrative  in  Genesis. 

But  we  deny  absolutsly  that  a  penalty  must  be  known,  or  under- 
stood, before  it  can  be  justly  inflicted.  The  justice  of  the  punish- 
ment depends  on  the  law  being  known,  and  on  the  penalty  being 
proportioned  to  the  offen  :,  but  not  on  the  penalty  being  known. 
Constable,  replying  to  Professor  Bartlett  on  this  point,  says  :  "  If 
this  Professor  of  Theolog_/  had  consulted  a  Professor  of  Jurispru- 
dence, he  would  have  been  informed,  that  when  a  man  is  incapable 
of  knowing  the  nature  of  a  penalty,  he  cannot  be  subjected  to  it." 
— Nat.  and  Dur.  of  Future  Punishment,  page  30.  This  is  an  artful 
representation,  by  which  one  thing  is  adroitly  substituted  for  ano- 
ther, in  a  way  not  very  worthy  of  an  honest  man.  Human  law 
views  a  man,  who  from  mental  imbecility  or  disease,  is  incapable  of 
understanding  the  law  or  its  penalty,  as  not  responsible  for  his 
actions.  But  this  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  case  on  hand,  where 
the  law  was  known  and  understood,  and  only  the  penalty  is  sup- 
posed to  have  been  not  fully  comprehended. 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  I49 

According  to  the  teaching  of  White  and  Constable,  where  God 
forbids  a  sin,  and  does  not  publish  a  penalty,  no  penalty  can  be 
inflicted.  Were  this  precious  morality  accepted,  the  members  of  a 
community,  which  had  the  Decalogue  revealed  from  Heaven  as 
their  moral  code,  might  deem  themselves  licensed,  so  far  as  exemp- 
tion from  penalty  could  license  them,  to  murder,  steal,  and  commit 
adultery,  because  the  precepts  forbidding  these  sins  have  no  penal- 
ties attached  to  them.  White  tells  us  that  even  the  "  Chinese  gov- 
ernment considers  itself  obliged  to  read  to  the  people  periodically 
the  Criminal  Code." — Page  113.  If  so,  it  may  be  assumed  that  it 
has  wisdom  to  do  it,  to  make  them  familiar  with  the  law,  rather 
than  merely  to  acquaint  them  with  the  penalty.  We  think  it  is 
manifest  that  neither  of  these  modes  of  determining  the  meaning  of 
the  threatening  given  in  Eden  can  satisfy  any  thoughtful  and  un- 
biased mind. 

We  shall  now  advance  a  step,  and  give  some  reasons  why  we 
cannot  accept  the  view  of  death  on  which  the  doctrine  of  Condi- 
tional Immortality  is  based.     We  reject  the  doctrine. 

I.  Because  it  is  based  on  an  unfounded  assumption,  viz  :  that 
the  primary  and  ordinary  meaning  of  death  is  the  cessation  of  exist- 
ence, or  the  extinction  of  being.  This  notion  pervades  the  reason- 
ings of  Annihilationists,  and  it  is  essential  to  the  theory  that  this 
should  be  recognized  as  the  primary  meaning  of  the  word.  For 
only  in  this  way  can  they  hope  to  fasten  such  a  meaning  on  death, 
as  the  threatened  penalty  of  sin.  We  venture,  however,  to  assert 
that  it  is  a  pure  assumption,  in  support  of  which  not  one  relevant 
fact  can  be  adduced,  and  in  opposition  to  which  almost  number- 
less facts  array  themselves. 

Constable,  with  his  usual  boldness,  claims  the  testimony  of  the 
dictionaries  of  all  languages  to  the  assertion.  '"  that  the  primary  and 
ordinary  meaning  of  death  is  the  extinction  of  being."  Rewrites  : 
"  Every  dictionary  of  every  language  of  the  earth  is  our  witness  of 


150  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

this." — Page  75.  It  is  difficult  to  imagine  a  statement  more  un- 
founded, made  by  an  intelligent  man,  who  considers  himself  under 
obligations  to  speak  the  truth. 

The  word  "  death  "  has,  no  doubt,  a  primary,  and  various  sec- 
ondary meanings,  but  it  is  not  true  that,  in  any  language  with  which 
we  are  acquainted,  or  in  any  respectable  dictionary,,  its  primary 
meaning  is  the  extinction  of  being,  or  that  the  word  primarily  im- 
plies that  the  being  who  has  died  has  "  utterly  and  wholly  ceased 
to  be."  It  is  a  word  which  points  primarily  to  certain  familiar  phy- 
sical phenomena,  which  occur  once  in  the  history  of  every  man,  but 
it  gives  no  explanation  of  the  causes  or  results  of  these  phenom- 
ena. The  Imperial  dictionary  gives  as  the  meaning  of  the  word 
death :  "  The  state  of  a  being,  animal  or  vegetable,  but  more 
particularly  of  an  animal,  in  which  there  is  a  total  and  permanent 
cessation  of  all  the  vital  functions,  when  the  organs  have  not  only 
ceased  to  act,  but  have  lost  the  susceptibility  of  renewed  action." 
In  this  definition,  there  is  nothing  inconsistent  with  the  continued 
existence  of  the  soul  after  death.  Of  course,  if  Materialism  is  true, 
the  cessation  of  these  vital  functions  in  the  disorganised  material 
mechanism,  carries  with  it  the  extinction  of  mental  and  spiritual 
action,  and  of  the  soul  itself,  which  is  merely  a  function  of  the  body. 
The  entire  man  is  resolved  into  his  "  elemental  atoms,"  and  ceases 
to  be.  But  this  conclusion  is  not  reached  from  the  primary  force 
of  the  word  DEATH,  but  from  the  teachings  of  a  base  philosophy. 
And  even  if  Materialism  were  proved  true,  it  would  not  follow  that 
mankind,  in  speaking  of  an  occurrence  so  familiar  as  death,  has  any 
thought  of  pronouncing  it  true.  Sunrise  and  sunset  are  due  to 
the  revolution  of  the  earth  on  its  axis,  but  neither  the  learned  nor 
the  unlearned,  in  using  these  words,  ever  dream  that  they  are 
enunciating  that  truth.  Bishop  Butler  has  well  remarked  :  "  We 
do  not  know  at  all  what  death  is  in  itself,  but  only  some  of  its 
effects,  such  as  the  dissolution  of  the  flesh,  skin  and  bones.     And 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  15I 

these  effects  do  in  no  wise  appear  to  imply  the  destruction  of  a 
living  agent." — Analogy,  page  16.  If  our  vital  functions  are  due 
to  the  union  of  the  soul  and  body,  then  their  total  and  permanent 
cessation  in  the  body,  which  is  the  thing  observed  in  death,  may  be 
due  to  the  termination  of  that  union,  and  does  not  imply  the  ex- 
tinction of  the  soul,  or  that  it  has  ceased  to  be  active  or  conscious. 
It  is  only  when  the  teaching  of  a  Materialistic  philosophy  is 
adroitly  transfused  into  the  word  DEATH,  that  it  can  be  m.ade  to 
speak  the  language  of  Annihilationism. 

If  Constable's  reckless  assertions  were  true,   whenever  a  man 
says  a  neighbor  has  died,  he  intends  to  affirm  that  he  has  "  utterly 
and  wholly  ceased  to  be."     The  prevalence,  well  nigh  universal,  of 
a  belief  in  the  immortality  of  the   soul,  is  a  sufficient  refutation  of 
this  preposterous  assertion.      The  truth  is  that  neither  Materialists 
nor  Annihilationists  have  ever  been  sufficiently  numerous  to  mould 
the  language  of  any  people.    Neither  Hebrews,  Greeks  nor  Romans, 
when  they  spoke  of  the  death  of  their  friends,  in  the  ordinary  and 
primary  sense  of  that  word,  ever  dreamed  of  asserting  that  the  de- 
parted had  ceased  to  be  ;  and  with  the  exception  of  a  few  who  had 
become  corrupted  by  a  Materialistic  philosophy,  they  did  not  be- 
lieve it.     It  is  notorious  that  the  Jews,  in  the  time  of  our  Lord,  with 
the  exception  of  the  Sadducees,  who  never  were  a  numerous  class, 
believed  in  the  immortality  of  the  soul.     Of  this  the  New  Testa- 
ment and  Josephus  supply  ample  evidence.     And  if  we  can  trust 
poets,  philosophers  and  historians,  it  is  no  less  certain  that  the  mass 
of  the  Greeks  and  Romans  did  the  same.     Their  superstitions  make 
this  belief  palpable.      Their  Gods  were  nearly  all  departed  heroes. 
Tartarus  and  the  underworld  were  peopled  with  those  who  had  laid 
aside   the   body   in   death.      Necromancy,  which  prevailed  exten- 
sively, is  a  recognition  of  the  survival  of  souls  separated  from  the 
body.     And  if  the  popular  religion   provided  for  the  departed  a 
ferryman  at  the  river,  and  judges  for  the  nether  world,  it  surely  is 


152  FUTURE    rUNjSlIMENT. 

sufficient  evidence  that  when  they  spoke  of  death  in  its  primary 
sense,  they  did  not  intend  to  affirm  that  the  dead  had  "  utterly  and 
wholly  ceased  to  be." 

Another  pohit  requires  to  be  noticed  in  connection  with  this 
word.  What  Annihilationists  assert  is  the  primary  meaning  of 
death  is  a  purely  SECONDARY  MEANING,  of  which  there  are  oc- 
casional examples  in  classic,  and  even  in  theological  Greek.  But  it 
is  only  the  perverting  influence  of  a  Materialistic  philosophy,  which 
in  view  ot  the  facts  we  have  adduced,  could  ever  lead  any 
one  to  mistake  it  for  the  primary  sense  of  the  word.  Like  nearly 
all  our  terms,  which  represent  abstract  ideas,  the  word  DEATH 
passes  from  what  falls  under  the  senses  to  what,  in  a  higher  depart- 
ment, is  supposed  to  be  analogous.  Between  those  familiar  sensible 
phenomena,  which  the  word  primarily  represents,  analogies  are 
easily  traced  in  a  higher  region,  out  of  which  spring  secondary 
meanings  of  the  word  death.  To  illustrate  ;  When  a  living 
creature  dies,  the  body  is  dissolved  into  its  elements.  Following 
this  analogy,  a  writer  may  affirm  or  deny  the  death  of  the  soul, 
when  he  wishes  to  assert  or  repudiate  the.  notion  of  its  continued 
existence.  In  the  one  case,  he  designs  to  affirm  that  the  soul  can- 
not or  will  not  be  resolved  into  simpler  elements,  and  thus  pass 
away  ;  while  in  the  other  he  makes  the  opposite  assertion.  But 
this  is  a  purely  secondary  meaning  of  the  word,  which  became  neces- 
sary, when  men  began  to  indulge  in  abstract  speculations.  Again, 
when  a  living  creature  dies,  physical  decay  sets  in,  and  putre- 
faction, with  all  its  loathsome  accompaniments,  follows.  Pursuing 
this  analogy,  death  when  applied  to  the  soul,  represents  the  decay  of 
moral  principle  or  character,  and  all  the  loathsomeness  of  a  depraved 
heart  and  life  ;  in  one  word,  moral  and  spiritual  death.  But  this 
is  not  more  certainl}^  a  secondary  meaning  ol  the  word  death  than 
tlie  other. 


CONDITIONAL    IMMORTALITY.  I  53 

But  we  might  very  well  object  to  have  the  biblical  sense  of  the 
word  death  determined  by  an  appeal  to  its  usage  in  heathen 
writers,  or  indeed  in  extra  scriptural  writersof  any  kind.  The 
only  safe  way  to  reach  the  meaning  of  the  word  in  the  Bible,  is  to 
examine  carefully  the  passages  in  which  it  occurs.  Supernatural 
revelation  had  to  engraft  an  entirely  new  circle  of  ideas  upon 
languages  which  had  been  before  employed  merely  as  the  vehicle 
of  heathen  thought.  It  was  therefore  often  compelled,  as  the  con- 
text shows,  to  use  words  in  a  much  higher  sense  than  that  in  which 
they  were  employed  among  the  heathen.  To  insist  that  the  usage 
of  classic  Greek  is  to  rule  the  interpretation  of  the  New  Testament 
is  really  to  keep  Christianity  down  to  the  dead  level  of  heathen 
ideas.  What,  we  may  say,  was  Paul's  entire  speech  on  Mars'  Hill, 
but  an  attempt  to  engraft  on  '>he  word  GOD  a  circle  of  ideas,  as 
much  higher  than  that  which  the  Athenians  connected  with  it,  as 
the  God  of  the  Bible  is  higher  and  purer  than  those  monsters  of 
vice,  whom  the  heathen  often  honored  as  their  Deities  ? 

II.  We  cannot  regard  the  death  threatened  as  equivalent  to  the 
cessation  of  being,  because  that  view  does  not  agree  with  the  inti- 
mations of  the  record  in  Genesis,  respecting  the  nature  of  man  and 
the  execution  of  the  penalty.  There  are  four  things  in  the  record 
which  we  require  to  observe  : 

1st.  That  the  creation  of  man  is  introduced  wifh  much  greater 
solemnity  than  that  of  the  lower  animals.  His  creation  is  not  re- 
ferred to  merely  as  that  of  a  member  of  the  animal  kingdom,  with 
powers  and  capacities  somewhat  higher  than  those  of  his  fellows,  but 
as  that  of  a  being  largely  SUI  GENERIS,  an  animal  uo  doubt,  but  one 
quite  unique  in  his  nature.  When  the  lower  animals  are  introduced, 
God  said,  "  Let  the  waters  bring  forth  abundantly,  the  moving 
creature  that  hath  life,"  or  "  Let  the  earth  bring  forth  the  living 
creature  after  his  kind." — Genesis  i.  20  and  24.  The  language  looks 
as  if  their  origin  were  wholly  earthly,  but  when  we  come  to  the  crea- 


154  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

tion  of  man,  the  Godhead  is  represented  as  taking  counsel.  "And 
God  said,  let  us  make  man,"  &c.  This  is  language,  surely,  which 
might  prepare  us  to  look  for  a  being  of  a  very  different  nature  from 
the  other  denizens  of  earth.  This  expectation  is  fulfilled  ;  for  the 
record  next  asserts, — 

2nd.  That  man  was  created  in  the  image  of  God.  We  are  often 
reminded,  by  those  who  regard  man  as  entirely  of  earthly  origin, 
that  in  Genesis  ii.  7,  God  is  said  to  have  formed  man  out  of  the 
dust  of  the  ground  ;  but  it  should  not  be  forgotten  that  there  are 
two  accounts  of  man's  creation  given  in  Genesis  i.  26,  27,  and  ii.  7 
— the  later  supplying  some  details  omitted  by  the  earlier — but  what 
is  stated  first,  as  announcing  that  which  is  most  distinctive  of  man, 
and  that  in  reference  to  which  the  Godhead  takes  counsel,  is  that 
man  was  made  in  the  image  of  God.  In  what,  then,  does  the  image 
of  God  consist  ?  The  scriptures  warrant  us  in  answering,  that  it 
consists  in  two  things,  distinct,  yet  related,  (i)  A  likeness  of  nature 
to  God,  which  was  not  lost  by  the  fall — Genesis  ix.  9,  James  iii.  9, 
and  1st  Cor.  xi,  7.  And  (2)  a  likeness  in  moral  character  to  God, 
which  was  lost  by  sin,  and  may  be  restored  by  grace.  Paul  tells  us 
to  "put  on  the  new  man,  which  after  God  is  created  in  righteous- 
ness and  true  holiness," — Ephesians  iv.  24.  And  again  he  describes 
Christians  as  those  who  "have  put  on  the  new  man,  which  is  re- 
newed in  knowledge  after  the  image  of  Him  that  created  him," — 
Col.  iii.  10,  and  2nd  Cor.  iii.  18.  These  passages  teach,  (i),  That 
the  new  man,  which  we  put  on,  when  we  become  living  followers  of 
Christ,  is  the  re-establishment  of  the  divine  image,  in  which  man 
was  originally  created.  (2)  That  the  distinguishing  features  of  that 
image  are  knowledge,  righteousness  and  holiness,  or  moral  excel- 
cellence  viewed  from  its  intellectual  and  ethical  sides.  (3).  That 
these  features  of  the  Divine  image  were  created  in  man.  If  we 
ask  ourselves,  in  what  do  such  qualities  as  knowledge,  righteousness 
and  holiness  inhere  ?     The  answer  must  be,  in  man's  spiritual  na- 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  I  55 

ture.  or  in  that  element  of  the  Divine  image  which  sin  has  not 
obliterated. 

God  is  a  spirit,  and  when  He  made  man  in  His  image,  He  made 
him  a  spirit.  It  is  from  CONSCIOUSNESS  we  get  the  idea  of  spirit 
as  something  distinct  from  matter.  Through  the  senses,  we  come 
to  the  knowledge  of  matter,  as  found  in  the  body  and  in  the  exter- 
nal world.  It  is  recognized  as  that  which  has  certain  properties, 
such  as  extension,  weight,  color  and  divisibility.  By  consciousness 
I  become  acquainted  with  something  which  I  call  myself,  or  my 
soul,  which  thinks,  feels,  wills,  makes  moral  discriminations,  and  is 
one  and  indivisible.  None  of  the  known  properties  of  matter  can 
be  ascribed  to  the  soul  or  self,  as  made  known  by  consciousness. 
And  none  of  the  known  properties  of  the  soul  can  be  predicated  of 
matter.  We  thus  reach  a  knowledge  of  soul  or  spirit  as  essentially 
distinct  from  matter.  When  everything  which  discovers  to  us  the 
existence  of  soul  and  of  matter,  reveals  them  as  distinct,  it  would  sure- 
ly be  gratuitous  folly  to  attempt  to  identify  them  with  each  other. 
But  while  we  can  predicate  none  of  the  properties  of  the  self  or 
soul  of  matter,  we  are  constrained  both  by  reason  and  revelation 
to  ascribe  to  God,  in  infinite  measure,  all  the  distinguishing  proper- 
ties of  the  soul,  and  to  deny  to  him  all  the  properties  of  matter.  To 
Him  we  ascribe  personality,  feeling,  intelligence,  will,  moral  charac- 
ter, and  indivisible  unity — the  very  characteristics  of  the  human 
soul  revealed  by  consciousness.  And  when  we  affirm  that  human 
soul  is  spirit,  and  that  God  is  a  spirit,  we  only  employ  a  verbal  sym- 
bol to  express  what  we  had  before  discovered  is  common  to  man 
and  to  his  Creator.  If  we  had  not  discovered  through  conscious- 
ness what  spirit  is,  the  assertion,  that  God  is  a  spirit,  would  mean 
as  little  to  us  as  a  description  of  colors  to  a  man  born  blind,  or  of 
sound  to  a  man  who  has  been  always  deaf.  Language  cannot  con- 
vey simple  ideas  which  are  not  already  in  the  mind.  A  belief,  there- 
fore, in  the  spirituality  of  the  human  soul,  and  in  the  spirituality  of 
God,  logically  stand  or  fall  together. 


ISC  FUTURE   rUN'ISlIMENT. 

But  it  may  be  asked,  what  is  the  connection  between  the  spirit- 
uahty  of  the  soul  and  its  survival  after  death  ?  The  attitude  of 
both  friends  and  foes  is  good  evidence  that  the  connection  is  real. 
Nor  is  the  reason  far  to  seek.  Were  the  soul  material,  or  the  result 
of  highly  organized  matter,  we  would  naturally  expect  that  when 
the  body  returned  to  dust,  the  soul  would  vanish  and  become  as 
though  it  had  not  been.  But  if  the  soul  is  spirit,  a  substance  which 
is  essentially  diverse  from  matter,  if  it  is  not  liable  to  decay  or  dis- 
solution, and  if  consciousness  reveals  it  as  one  and  indivisible,  then 
the  changes  which  dissolve  the  body  into  its  elements,  cannot  affect 
the  soul.  No  doubt  God  can  blot  the  soul  of  man  out  of  existence, 
although  the  fact  that  He  made  it  in  His  image  may  be  regarded 
as  an  intimation  of  an  opposite  intention,  but  we  cannot  suppose 
even  the  Almighty  to  divide  it,  or  to  resolve  it,  into  simpler  ele- 
ments. In  the  very  structure  of  the  soul,  therefore,  which  was 
made  in  the  image  of  God, '  we  discern  the  fore-gleams  of 
immortality. 

3rd.  The  record  of  man's  creation  indicates  very  clearly  the 
DUALITY  of  his  nature.  "  And  the  Lord  God  formed  man  out  of 
the  dust  of  the  ground,  and  breathed  into  his  nostrils  the  breath  of 
life  ;  and  man  became  a  living  soul." — Genesis  ii.  7. 

The  force  of  the  argument  here  does  not  depend  on  the  state- 
ment that  man  became  a  living  soul — NEPliESH  hayah — terms 
which  are  expressly  applied  to  the  lower  animals,  but  rather  upon 
the  indication  which  we  have  here  of  a  twofold  nature  in  man,  one 
part  drawn  from  the  dust,  and  the  other  the  product  of  the  in- 
breathing of  the  Almighty.  The  place  which  man  is  here  recog- 
nized as  holding  in  the  animal  kingdom,  is  due  to  the  union  of  soul 
and  body.  Bring  together  all  the  elements  of  man's  nature  which 
are  drawn  from  the  ground,  and  arrange  them  in  the  exact  order 
in  which  they  are  found  in  living  men,  and  let  the  Spirit  be  a  want- 
ing, and  •"in  i*;  not  NEPHESll  HAVAH,  a  living  soul,  or  animal  ;  he 


CONDITIONAL    IMMORTALITY.  IS7 

IS  a  carcase  or  corpse.  But  add  to  what  comes  from  the  dust  what 
is  due  to  the  inbreathing  of  God,  and  he  becomes  a  hving  soul,  a 
creature  having  Hfe,  and  takes  his  place  in  the  animal  kingdom. 
No  fair  handling  of  the  record  can  keep  out  of  view  the  indications 
which  it  gives  of  a  twofold  nature  in  man  It  distinguishes  between 
the  vital  principle,  or  soul,  and  the  material  organism,  and  points 
to  the  former  as  more  directly  from  God,  and  "  akin  to  Him  than 
the  latter."  And  the  inference  deduced  from  the  marks  of  dualism 
apparent  on  the  record  of  man's  creation,  becomes  more  powerful 
when  the  record  is  read  in  the  light  of  the  inspired  comment,  given 
in  Ecclesiastes  xii.  7,  "  Then  shall  the  dust  return  to  the  earth,  as 
it  was,  and  the  spirit  shall  return  to  God  who  gave  it  ;"  and  still 
more  clear,  as  practically  interpreted  by  the  prayer  of  the  dying 
Stephen,  "  Lord  Jesus,  receive  my  spirit." — Acts  vii.  59. 

4th.  But  the  record  in  Genesis  gives  not  only  indications  of  the 
nature  of  man,  but  also  of  the  execution  of  the  curse  threatened  ; 
from  which  it  appears  that  the  penalty  fell  more  directly  on  the  soul. 
Disobedience  was  to  be  followed  by  immediate  punishment :  "  In 
the  day  thou  eatest  thereof  thou  shalt  surely  die."  The  narrative 
shows  that  the  first  fruit  of  sin  was  reaped  in  the  souls  of  our  first 
parents.  The  sense  of  shame,  the  dread  of  God's  displeasure,  and 
a  consciousness  of  a  baleful  change  in  their  relations  to  God,  are 
the  things  which  are  first  experienced  by  the  transgressors.  It  is 
not  the  extinction  of  being,  but  of  conscious  well  being,  which  ap- 
pears. Is  this  no  intimation  to  us  of  the  real  meaning  of  the 
threatening?  We  are  informed  by  Annihilationists  that  but  for 
the  intervention  of  Christ,  the  cessation  of  being  would  have  followed 
man's  sin  instantly.  This,  however,  is  a  pure  assumption,  to  which 
the  Scriptures  give  no  countenance.  It  is  never  safe  to  regulate 
our  views  of  Scripture  by  unproved  assumptions.  What  we  here 
observe  is  penal  evils,  which  are  spoken  ol  elsewhere  in  Scripture 
as  death,  coming  upon  our  first   parents  as  soon  as  they  sinned, 


15S  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

and  these  we  regard  as  included  in  the  threatening.     This  is  God's 
interpretation  of  his  own  words. 

III.  We  cannot  accept  the  Annihilationist  view  of  death,  because 
the  scriptures  show  that  the  soul  of  man  retains  a  conscious  exist- 
ence after  death. 

Those  who  embrace  the  doctrine  of  Conditional  Immortality 
with  which  we  are  dealing,  while  insisting  that  death  means  prim- 
arily the  extinction  of  being,  admit  that  as  a  result  of  the  interven- 
tion of  Christ,  men  do  not  cease  to  be  until  afier  the  general 
judgment.  White  says,  "  The  Hades  state  is  for  good  and  bad, 
one  of  the  miraculous  results  of  a  new  probation." — Page  106. 
But  writers  of  this  class  uniformly  deny,  and  in  order  to  give  their 
admission  a  semblance  of  consistency  with  their  view  of  death,  it 
is  necessai;>y  that  they  should  deny  to  man  a  conscious  existence 
between  death  and  the  resurrection.  We  cannot  regard  the  con- 
sistency as  real  They  appear,  however,  to  think  that  if  they  assign 
to  man  a  condition  so  near  to  non-existence,  that  it  may  be  mistaken 
for  it,  it  will  be  forgotten  that  they  have  defined  death  to  be  "  the 
entire  deprivation  of  being."  Do  the  scriptures,  then,  warrant  us 
in  ascribing  to  man,  between  death  and  the  resurrection,  an  uncon- 
scious state  ?  Turn  to  that  evangelical  narrative  in  Luke  xvi, 
19-31,  which  Annihilationists  always  speak  of  as  a  parable.  Its 
doctrinal  value  will,  however,  in  no  way  be  lessened,  if  we  view  it 
as  a  parable ;  for  a  parable  always  presents  a  case  which  might 
have  happened.  You  will  observe  that  the  passage  asserts  three 
things,  viz.  :  (i.)  That  Lazarus  and  the  rich  man  died.  What  the 
scriptures  recognize  as  death  in  its  primary  and  obvious  sense,  befel 
both  of  them.  (2.)  Both  passed,  at  once,  into  a  state  of  conscious 
existence,  the  one  comforted  in  Abraham's  bosom,  and  the  other 
lifting  up  his  eyes  in  Hades,  being  in  torments.  (3.)  That  this  was 
their  condition  during:  the  lifetime  of  the  five  brethren  of  the  rich 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 59 

man,  whose  advent  he  dreaded,  or  in  other  words,  during  the  very 
period  elapsing  between  his  death  and  the  resurrection. 

This  one  passage  subverts  the  entire  scheme  of  Annihilationists. 
But  it  does  not  stand  alone.  The  dying  malefactor  was  comforted 
with  the  assurance  that  he  should  be  that  day  with  Christ  in  para- 
dise.— Luke  xxiii.  43,  Paul  expected,  when  his  earthly  taber- 
nacle was  dissolved,  to  be  received,  in  his  abiding  personality,  into 
an  house  not  made  with  hands,  eternal  in  the  heavens,  and  when  he 
was  absent  from  the  body  to  be  present  with  the  Lord. — 2nd  Cor- 
inthians V.  1-8.  We  learn,  also,  that  the  Apostle  of  the  Gentiles 
deemed  it  far  better  to  depart,  and  be  with  Christ,  then  to  remain 
in  the  flesh.  To  him  death  was  gain,  not  a  state  of  unconsciousness. 
Moses,  who  had  been  many  centuries  dead,  appeared  in  glory  along 
with  Elias,  and  talked  with  Christ  concerning  the  decease  which  he 
was  to  accomplish  at  Jerusalem. — Luke  ix.  30,  31.  This  certainly 
is  something  very  unlike  slumbering  on  in  unconsciousness  until 
the  resurrection. 

The  Sadducean  doctrine  was  based  on  the  same  materialistic 
philosophy  which  we  have  seen  underlies  the  theory  of  Conditional 
Immortality.  And  Christ  in  refuting  the  denial  of  the  resurrection 
by  the  former,  refutes  also  the  denial  of  consciousness  to  those  who 
have  died,  as  held  by  the  latter.  Our  Lord  met  the  cavils  of  the 
Sadducees  by  showing  that  the  words  addressed  to  Moses  at  the 
bush,  "  I  am  the  God  of  Abraham,  the  God  of  Isaac,  and  the  God 
of  Jacob,"  implied  that  these  patriarchs  were  still  living,  and  in  cov- 
enant relations  with  God.  What  Annihilationists  inform  us  is  a 
state  of  entire  unconsciousness,  He  pronounces  to  be  a  state  of  life. 
"  For  he  is  not  a  God  of  the  dead,  but  of  the  living  ;  for  all  live  unto 
Him." — Luke  xx.  38.  The  testimony  of  Christ,  therefore,  is  explicit 
that  death,  in  the  ordinary  sense  of  that  word,  does  not  exclude  the 
continued  life  of  the  soul  apart  from  the  body. 


l6o  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

TV.  We  reject  the  Annihilationist  view  of  the  threatening  in 
Eden,  because  it  is  not  in  harmony  with  the  New  Testament  usage 
of  the  words  LIFE  and  DEATH,  particularly  when  they  are  associa- 
ted with  the  mission  of  Christ.  He  is  represented  as  coming  to 
deliver  us  from  death,  and  to  impart  to  us  life  ;  and  it  will  not  be 
questioned  that  the  death  from  which  He  frees  us  is  the  curse  en- 
tailed by  sin,  and  the  life  He  bestows  is  the  opposite.  That  life, 
in  the  New  Testament,  is  used  to  signify  not  merely  conscious  ex- 
istence, but  man's  NORMAL  EXISTENCE,  a  blessed  life  in  fellow.ship 
with  God,  where  all  the  fruits  of  His  favor  are  enjoyed,  is,  we  think, 
undeniable.     Death,  on  the  other  hand,  frequently  stands  for  the 

opposite,  AN  ABNORMAL  EXISTENCE  OF  ALIENATION  FROM  GOD, 
subject  to  all  the  penal  evils  which  follow  such  an  existence  in  this 
world  and  in  the  world  to  come. 

When  Christ  says,  "  Let  the  dead  bury  their  dead."  Matt.  viii.  22 
it  needs  surely  no  proof  that  the  dead  who  were  capable  of  burying 
their  dead,  were  not  persons  who  had  either  laid  aside  the  body,  or 
who  had  ceased  to  be,  but  men  who  by  reason  of  their  abnormal 
state  of  alienation  from  God,  were  viewed  as  spiritually  dead.  It 
is  equally  apparent  that  it  is  in  the  same  sense  the  word  is  applied 
to  the  church  in  Sardis,  which  had  a  name  to  live,  and  was  dead, — 
Revelations  iii.  i.  John  affirms,  "he  that  loveth  not  his  brother 
abideth  in  death,"  but  he  does  not  mean  to  say  either  that  his 
earthly  career  was  over,  or  that  he  had  ceased  to  exist.  The  Apostle 
Paul  expressly  declares  that  "  to  be  carnally  minded  is  death," — 
Romans  viii.  6 — and  the  reason  which  he  gives  for  the  assertion  is 
not  that  it  leads  on,  at  some  future  time,  to  "  the  entire  deprivation 
of  being,"  but  that  it  involves  alienation  of  heart  and  life  from  God  ; 
for  in  the  next  verse  he  adds,  "  Because  the  carnal  mind  is  enmity 
against  God  ;  for  it  is  not  subject  to  the  law  of  God,  neither  indeed 
can  be."  This  is  what  Paul  regards  as  death.  He  even  predicates 
death  and  life  of  the  same  person,  at  the  same  time, — "  she  that 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  l6l 

liveth  in  pleasure  is  dead  while  she  liveth," — ist  Tim.  5,  6.  That 
life  is  spoken  of  as  imparted,  in  a  sense  exactly  corresponding,  is 
sufficiently  evident  from  the  statement,  "  To  be  spiritually  minded 
is  life  and  peace," — Romans  viii.  6  ;  or  from  the  declaration,  "  You 
hath  He  quickened,  who  were  dead  in  trespasses  and  sins," — 
Ephesians  ii.  i. 

It  is  important  to  observe  that  in  many  of  the  passages  in  the 
New  Testament,  where  LIFE  denotes  a  normal  state  of  being  in  the 
fellowship,  likeness,  and  enjoyment  of  God,  it  is  directly  associated 
with  the  mission  of  Christ,  and  the  imparting  of  life,  in  this  high 
sense,  is  set  forth  as  the  special  object  of  His  work.  A  few  illus- 
trations must  suffice.-  John  xvii.  23  :  "  As  Thou  hast  given  Him 
power  over  all  flesh,  that  He  should  give  eternal  life  to  as  many  as 
Thou  has  given  Him.  And  this  is  life  eternal  that  they  might  know 
Thee,  the  only  true  God,  and  Jesus  Christ,  whom  Thou  has  sent." 
Observe  here  (i)  That  the  end  for  which  Christ  was  granted  all 
power  was  that  He  might  give  eternal  life  to  as  many  as  were  given 
Him.  This  life  must  be  the  opposite  of  the  death  which  was  intro- 
duced by  sin.  For  Christ  "  came  to  destroy  the  works  of  th2 
devil." — 1st  John  iii.  8,  and  ist  John  iv.  9,  (2)  That  this  life,  in 
what  Christ  regards  as  its  most  essential  aspect,  is  to  know  the 
only  true  God,  and  His  Son,  Jesus  Christ.  The  life  which  our 
Redeemer  came  to  impart,  as  defined  by  Himself,  is  not  mere  con- 
scious being,  but  a  normal  state  of  being  in  communion  with  God, 
whose  real  glory  is  spiritually  apprehended.  It  is  to  know  God, 
and  His  Son,  Jesus  Christ. 

John  iii.  36  :  "  He  that  believeth  on  the  Son  hath  everlasting 
life  ;  he  that  believeth  not  the  Son,  shall  not  see  life,  but  the  wrath 
of  God  abideth  on  him."  Observe  here,  (i)  everlasting  life  is  the 
present  possession  of  the  believer.  He  hath  it.  The  present  tense 
is  used.  It  is  not  something  bestowed  merely  at  the  resurrection. 
(2)  The  unbeliever  shall  not  see  life.  If  life  here  means  a  normal 
existence  in  the  fellowship  and  enjoyment  of  God,  the  statement  is 


l62  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

intelligible,  but  if  it  means  mere  existence,  or  conscious  being,  the 
assertion  palpably  contradicts  fiicts.  It  may  be  imagined  that,  at 
some  future  period,  the  unbeliever  shall  cease  to  be,  but  that  he 
now  exists  is  as  certain  as  any  fact  to  which  our  senses  bear  wit- 
ness. (3)  But  the  nature  of  the  death  in  which  the  unbeliever 
abides,  and  out  of  which  he  shall  not  pass,  is  explained  by  the  last 
clause  of  the  verse,  "  But  the  wrath  of  God  abideth  on  him.  "  He 
is  in  other  words,  subject  to  such  penal  evil  as  the  divine  displeas- 
ure may  inflict.  The  death  which  is  here  implied  is  not  the  extinc- 
tion of  being,  but  an  abnormal  state  of  being,  where  man,  estranged 
from  God,  abides  under  his  frown.  According  to  the  Annihila- 
tionist  interpretation  of  the  various  clauses  of  this  verse,  the  whole 
may  be  fairly  paraphrased,  as  follows  :  He  that  believeth  on  the 
Son  hath  everlasting  conscious  existence,  he  that  believeth  not  the 
Son  shall  not  see  conscious  existence,  but  the  wrath  of  God  abideth 
on  that  which  has  "  utterly  and  wholly  ceased  to  be  "!!!  A  theory 
which  reduces  such  a  text  to  nonsense  is  not  of  God. 

The  usage  of  the  words  life  and  death,  to  which  we  have  ad- 
verted, pervades  the  New  Testament,  vide  John  v.  24  ;  John  vi. 
47-51  ;  Rom.  vii.  9-13  ;  Rom.  vii.  24-15  ;  Rom.  viii.  6  ;  Eph.  ii.  1-6  ; 
Eph.  iv.  18-19  ;  Col.  ii.  12-13  ;  ist  John  iii.  14. 

V.  We  cannot  accept  the  Annihilationists'  view  of  the  death 
threatened  in  Eden,  because  they  do  not  themselves  adhere  to  it, 
and  cannot  adhere  to  it,  without  coming  into  direct  conflict  with 
what  they  acknowledge  to  be  the  teaching  of  Scripture. 

Those  who  embrace  the  phase  of  the  doctrine  of  Conditional 
Immortality  with  which  we  are  dealing,  maintain  (i)  that  the  death 
threatened  in  Eden,  and  death  in  the  primary  and  obvious  sense  of 
the  word,  are  one  and  the  same  ;  and  both  imply  the  extinction  of 
being.  Those  who  have  died  have  "  utterly  and  wholly  ceased  to 
be. "  (2)  That  there  shall  be  a  resurrection  of  the  entire  race,  and 
a  general  Judgment,  where  the  wicked  shall  have  such  punish- 
ment inflicted  on  them,  as  will  issue  in  their  final  annihilation. 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  163 

It  must  be  evident  to  any  one  who  reflects  that  these  positions 
are  mutually  destructive.  We  turn  to  Gen.  v.  5,  and  we  read,  "And 
all  the  days  that  Adam  lived  were  nine  hundred  and  thirty  years  : 
and  he  died. "  This  is  certainly  death  in  its  plain  and  obvious,  in 
its  primary  sense.  Then,  of  course,  according  to  Mr.  White,  he 
"  utterly  and  wholly  ceased  to  be."  He  was,  as  another  writer  has 
it,  resolved  into  his  "  elemental  atoms."  These  existed  before  he 
was  created,  and  they  exist  after  he  is  dead,  but,  if  death  is  the 
cessation  of  being,  in  no  other  sense  did  Adam  exist  after  he  died, 
than  he  existed  before  his  creation.  And,  as  "  it  has  been  appointed 
unto  men  once  to  die,"  it  follows  that  all  who  have  passed  away 
from  this  earthly  scene,  have  ceased  to  be  :  "  they  have  returned  to 
the  earth,  and  have  become  as  though  they  had  not  been." 

But  what  has  ceased  to  be  cannot  be  raised  up  again.  The 
rain  drops  of  this  year  are  not  a  resurrection  of  the  rain  drops  of 
last  year.  The  sounds  which  issue  from  the  tolling  bell  to-day  are 
no  resurrection  of  the  tones  which  came  from  it  yesterday.  A  res- 
urrection implies  continuity  of  being.  If  Adam  ceased  to  be,  when 
he  died,  he  cannot  be  raised  up  again.  Another  man  may  be  cre- 
ated in  his  likeness,  but  the  original  Adam  is  gone  for  ever.  When 
a  great  teacher,  to  whom  Annihilationists  pay  some  respect,  would 
establish  the  resurrection  of  Abraham,  Isaac  and  Jacob  and  of  the 
dead  generally,  he  did  so  by  proving  that  these  patriarchs  continu- 
ed to  live  long  after  they  were,  in  the  primary  sense  of  the  word, 
dead.  Math.  xxii.  23-32.  He  knew  that  a  creation  is  one  thing, 
and  a  resurrection  another. 

But  when  we  press  Annihilationists  with  the  consideration  that, 
if  death  is  the  extinction  of  being,  a  resurrection  is  impossible,  they 
meet  us  with  the  statement  that,  owing  to  the  remedial  system  in- 
troduced by  Christ,  none  of  the  human  race  will  be  annihilated, 
until  after  the  General  Judgment.  White  says  "  Hence  there  will 
be  a  resurrection  of  the  unjust  to  give  an  account  of  the  deeds  done 
in  the  body  ;   and  in  order  to   permit  of  the   reconstitution   of  the 


1^4  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

identical  transgressor,  we  hold  that  his  spirit  is  preserved  in  its 
individuality  from  dissipation  in  the  death  of  the  man,  to  be  con- 
joined again  to  the  body  at  the  day  of  Judgment."  Life  in  Christ 
P.  130.  Hudson  informs  us  that  "  the  soul  is  an  entity  not  de- 
stroyed by  the  death  ot  the  body,  however  dependent  it  may  be 
on  embodiment  for  the  purposes  of  active  existence."  Debt  and 
Grace.  P.  261. 

This  no  doubt  secures  continuity  of  being,  and  renders  a  resur- 
rection possible.  But  what  becomes  of  death  as  the  cessation  of 
existence  ?  What  has  befallen  the  primary  meaning  of  death,  the 
plain  and  obvious  meaning,  the  meaning  to  which  all  dictionaries 
of  all  the  languages  in  the  world  bear  witness  ?  What  has  become 
of  that  meaning  which  Adam  gathered  from  observation  of  the 
animal  system  around  him  ?  It  has  surely  been  resolved  into  its 
elemental  atoms,  and  has  "become  as  though  it  had  not  been"  !! 
The  possibility  of  a  resurrection  is  preserved,  but  it  is  by  renounc- 
ing what  we  have  been  told,  with  wearisomereiteration,  is  the  plain 
and  obvious  meaning  of  death,  as  the  extinction  of  being. 

It  turns  out  that,  although  the  Bible  says  Adam  died,  he  is  not 
dead.  Abraham  did  not  die.  The  rich  man  did  not  die,  before  he 
lifted  up  his  eyes  in  Hades,  being  in  torments.  Lazarus  did  not 
die,  before  angels  carried  him  to  Abraham's  bosom.  And  Jesus 
Christ  did  not  die  on  Calvary.  For  not  one  of  these,  "  utterly  and 
wholly  ceased  to  be." 

Nay,  we  must  go  farther :  we  are  forced  to  accept  two  remark- 
able generalizations,  viz.,  (i)  that  from  the  beginning  of  the  world 
down  to  our  own  day,  not  one  human  being  has  died,  in  the  plain 
and  obvious,  in  the  primary  sense  of  the  word,  and  not  one  human 
being  shall  die,  until  after  the  General  Judgment,  and  (2)  that 
while  the  Bible  speaks  familiarly,  on  almost  every  page,  of  death, 
in  what  mankind  regard  as  its  ordinary  and  primary  meaning,  in 
no  single  instance,  when  speaking  of  man,  does  it  use  the  word, 
Annihilationists  themselves  being  witness,  in  the  sense  which  the> 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  l6$ 

assign  to  it  in  the  threatening  in  Eden  !!  We  are  asked  to  believe 
that  what  the  Bible  everywhere  calls  death  is  in  reality  not  death, 
in  its  plain  and  obvious  meaning  ;  and  this  too  by  men  who  insist 
that  we  must  always  follow  the  simple  and  primary  meaning  of  the 
word  ! 

The  doctrine  of  Conditional  Immortality  is  an  attempt  to  unite 
incompatible  elements,  and  the  result  is  that  the  theory  will  har- 
monize neither  with  the  Scriptures,  nor  with  itself  If  the  annihil- 
ationist  retains .  his  definition  of  death,  he  must  abandon,  like  the 
ancient  Sadducees,  the  hope  of  a  resurrection.  And,  if  he  retains 
the  Christian  hope  of  a  resurrection,  he  must  forsake  his  Sadducean 
view  of  death,  as  the  cessation  of  being.  The  doctrine  is  self  de- 
structive. For,  if  the  dead  have  ceased  to  be,  they  cannot  be  raised 
up,  and  if  they  have  not  ceased  to  be,  then,  according  to  Annihila- 
tionists,  they  are  not  dead. 

The  time  which  we  may  occupy  with  one  lecture,  will  not  per- 
mit us  to  touch  on  many  points  raised  in  connection  with  the  dis- 
cussion of  Conditional  Immortality.  Nor  can  I  suppose  it  necessary. 
Those  who  have  followed  the  discussion,  must  ha\e  seen  that  the 
points  we  have  handled  are  so  central  that  the  whole  question 
turns  upon  them  ;  and  that  if  the  positions  we  have  taken  have  been 
sustained,  the  doctrine  of  Conditional  Immortality  cannot  be  re- 
garded as  either  true,  or  Scriptural.  Our  discussion  has  turned  on 
the  question  whether  death,  as  threatened  in  Eden,  and  spoken  of 
throughout  the  Scriptures  as  the  penalty  of  sin,  is  the  extinction 
of  being.  After  testing  the  methods  by  which  it  has  been  attempt- 
ed to  fasten  this  sense  upon  the  threatening,  and  discovering  their 
fallacious  character,  we  have  seen  good  cause  to  reject  the  annihil- 
ationist  view  of  death,  (a)  Because  it  is  based  on  an  unfounded 
assumption,  viz.,  that  the  primary  and  obvious  sense  of  death  is  the 
cessation  of  existence.  We  have  seen  that  this  notion  of  death  is 
not  due  to  the  primary  force  of  the  word,  but  to  a  materialistic 
philosophy,  and  that  neither  Hebrews,  Greeks  nor   Romans,   when 


l66  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

they  spoke  of  those  who  had  died,  ever  dreamed  of  asserting  that 
they  had  ceased  to  be.  (b)  We  have  seen  reason  to  reject  this 
view  of  death,  because  it  does  not  agree  with  the  intimations  in 
the  record  of  the  creation  and  fall,  respecting  the  nature  of  man 
and  the  execution  of  the  penalty.  We  have  seen  that  when  God 
made  man,  the  record  shows  that  he  made  him  in  his  image :  he 
gave  him  a  spiritual  nature  like  his  own,  a  nature  beyond  the  reach 
of  the  causes  which  produce  decay  and  dissolution  in  the  body,  and 
fitted  from  its  very  character  for  an  endless  existence.  The  record 
also  shows  that  man's  being  was  twofold,  the  lower  portion  drawn 
from  the  dust,  and  the  higher  which  bore  the  divine  image,  due  to 
the  inbreathing  of  the  Almighty,  and  that  it  was  the  union  of  these 
two  which  constituted  man  a  living  soul,  or  a  living  creature.  We 
have  seen  also  that  when  the  penalty  fell  on  man,  its  first  effects 
were  seen  in  his  higher  nature,  and  the  penalty,  read  in  the  light 
of  the  record,  is  not  the  extinction  of  being,  but  of  conscious  well- 
being. 

(c)  We  have  seen  reason  to  reject  the  Annihilationist  view  of 
death,  because  the  Scriptures  teach  that  the  soul  retains  a  con- 
scious existence  after  death.  The  existence  of  an  unconscious 
entity  will  not  meet  the  facts.  A  state  of  conscious  happiness,  or 
misery  is  required. 

(d)  We  have  seen  that  the  view  upon  which  we  have  been  ad- 
verting, is  not  in  harmony  with  the  New  Testament  usage  of  the 
words  LIFE  and  DEATH,  particularly  when  they  are  associated  with 
the  mission  of  Christ.  We  have  seen  ample  evidence  that  life  signi- 
fies, not  merely  conscious  existence,  but  man's  NORMAL  EXISTENCE, 
a  blessed  life  in  fellowship  with  God,  where  all  the  fruits  of  his 
favour  are  enjoyed,  and  DEATH  stands  for  the  opposite,  an  ABNOR- 
MAL EXISTENCE  OF  ALIENATION  from  God,  subject  to  all  the 
penal  evils,  which  such  alienation  entails  here,  or  hereafter.  And 
we  have  seen  that  this  is  the  life  Christ  declares  he  came  to  impart, 
and  the  death  from  which  he  delivers  us. 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  167 

(e)  We  have  seen  that  the  doctrine  of  Conditional  Immortality 
is  self  destructive,  and  that  we  are  compelled  either  to  abandon 
the  hope  of  a  resurrection,  or  to  renounce  the  assumption  that  death 
is  the  extinction  of  being.  It  is  surely  quite  unnecessary  to  pursue 
any  of  the  other  converging  lines  of  Scriptural  evidence  which  gQ 
to  show  that  Conditional  Immortality  has  no  foundation  in  the 
Word  of  God. 

We  are,  however,  frequently  reminded,  as  if  it  were  decisive  of 
the  whole  question,  that  the  Scriptures  assert  that  "  God  only  hath 
immortality."  But  those  who  urge  this  argument,  should  remem- 
ber two  things,  viz.,  (i)  that  when  these  words  are  taken  without 
restriction,  they  exclude  Conditional  Immortality,  as  truly  as  a 
natural  immortality,  bestowed  by  God  on  the  entire  race  at  crea- 
tion, and  continued  to  them  in  accordance  with  his  unchanging 
purpose,  and  (2)  when  the  words  are  taken  with  the  Scriptural 
limitation,  which  would  make  them  consistent  with  the  doctrine  of 
Conditional  Immortality,  they  are  equally  in  harmony  with  the 
ordinary  doctrine  of  the  Christian  Church.  All  they  teach  is  the 
unquestionable,  but  most  important  fact,  that  God  has  immortality 
IN  AND  OF  HIMSELF.  His  is  underived  and  independent,  while 
that  of  the  creature  is  derived  and  dependent.  God's  being,  his 
wisdom,  his  holiness  and  all  his  perfections,  belong  to  him  in  a 
way  that  nothing  can  possibly  belong  to  the  creature.  Ex.  iii.  14, 
Rom.  xvi.  27,  Rev.  xv.  4  and  1st  Tim.  vi.  16.  And  from  the  be- 
ginning, the  Christian  Church  has  been  careful  to  ascribe  no  immor- 
tality to  man  which  is  not  derived  from  God,  and  dependent  on 
his  sustaining  power. 

We  are  also  sometimes  asked,  whether  it  is  not  an  abuse  of 
language  to  force  such  words  as  "  destroy  "  and  "  perish  "  to  mean 
endless  conscious  misery.  Those  who  remember  that  Christ  came 
to  save  the  LOST  (Gr.  destroyed)  will  not  allow  this  question  to 
shut  them  up  to  annihilation.  Those  who  ask  it,  probably  do  not 
mean  to  impose  on  their  readers.     Through  mental  confusion,  they 


l68  FUTURE    rUNISIIMENT. 

have  only  imposed  on  themselves.  They  do  not  perceive  that  two 
things  may  be  inseparable,  and  quite  consistent  with  each  other, 
which  arc  nevertheless  not  convertible.  Light  and  heat  are  insep- 
arable in  a  sun-beam,  but  it  would  be  an  abuse  of  language  to 
make  light  mean  heat.  Sin  and  misery  are  inseparable  in  this 
world  and  in  the  next,  yet  it  would  be  an  abuse  of  language  to 
make  sin  mean  misery.  And  so,  while  the  words  "destroy  and 
"  perish,"  may  not  be  terms  convertible  with  endless  conscious 
misery,  they  may  be  perfectly  consistent  with  it,  if  the  destruction 
referred  to  is  of  that  which  renders  existence  godlike,  noble,  useful, 
and  desirable. 

But  those  who  teach  that  the  wicked  shall  be  annihilated 
through  sufferings,  which  may  be  protracted  for  '■  ages  of  ages," 
should  not  forget  that  it  is  equally  an  abuse  of  language  to  make 
the  words  "perish"  and  "destroy"  mean  conscious  misery  for 
"  ages  of  ages." 

I  cannot  conclude,  without  expressing  the  conviction  that  the 
doctrine  of  Conditional  Immortality  degrades  the  entire  conception 
of  Christianity,  to  an  extent  that  few  who  have  embraced  it,  under- 
stand fully.  If  the  penalty  threatened  on  account  of  sin  is  the 
extinction  of  being,  the  life  which  Christ  bestows  is  the  opposite. 
It  is  the  imparting  to  men  endless  conscious  existence.  Only  this, 
and  nothing  more.  Holiness  of  heart  and  life,  cannot  enter  into 
the  end.  It  may  be  a  means  to  the  end,  or  a  condition,  without 
which  the  end  cannot  be  secured,  but  the  end  is  mere  conscious 
existence.  When  we  open  our  New  Testaments,  we  read  that 
believers  were  chosen  in  Christ  before  the  foundation  of  the  world 
that  they  should  be  hol}\  (Eph.  i.  4.)  We  are  told  that  our  Redeem- 
er is  called  Jesus,  not  because  he  saves  his  people  from  extinction 
of  being,  but  because  he  saves  them  from  their  sins.  (Matt.  i.  21.)  We 
are  informed  that  he  gave  himself  for  us,  that  he  might  redeem  us 
from  all  iniquity  and  purify  unto  himself  a  peculiar  people,  zealous 
of  good  works.  (Tit.  ii.  14.)     We  are  assured  that  Christ  loved  the 


CONDITIONAL   IMMORTALITY.  1 69 

Church,  and  gave  himself  for  it,  that  he  might  sanctify  and  cleanse 
it.  (Eph.  V.  25-26.)  If  there  is  one  fact  respecting  redemption, 
which  stands  forth  more  prominently  in  the  New  Testament  than 
another,  it  is  that  the  grand  end  which  Christ  had  in  view,  in  sub- 
ordination to  the  glory  of  God,  was  the  holiness  of  his  people, 
their  complete  restoration  to  the  moral  and  spiritual  image  of  God. 
But  now  we  are  asked  to  believe,  that  the  grand  end  was  that  men 
might  be  preserved  in  existence.  And  to  this  holiness  itself  must 
be  subordinated.  This  is  a  revolution  and  a  degradation.  The 
man  who  values  a  painting,  not  for  the  touches  of  the  artist's  skill 
and  genius,  which  have  made  it  instinct  with  thought  and  charac- 
ter, but  for  the  square  yards  of  its  surface,  has  done  in  art,  what 
will  be  effected  for  Christianity,  when  for  that  holiness  of  heart 
and  life,  which  is  the  grand  end  of  Christ's  redeeming  work,  men 
shall  learn  to  substitute  the  conscious  existence  of  Conditional 
Immortality. 


^^ 


5.^ 


:-4%-; 


^^i?ffi^^>^^*^ 


OPTIMISM. 


CANON  FARRAR'S  "ETERNAL  HOPE." 


"  The  hypocrite's  hope  shall  perish — whose  hope  shall  be  cut 
off,  and  whose  trust  shall  be  a  spider's  web.  When  a  wicked  man 
dieth,  his  expectation  shall  perish  ;  and  the  hope  of  unjust  men 
perisheth." 

"  The  righteous  hath  hope  in  his  death." 

"  Heavenly  hope  is  all  serene. 
But  earthly  hope,  how  bright  soe'er, 

Still  fluctuates  o'er  this  changing  scene, 
As  false  and  fleeting  as  'tis  fair." 


OPTIMISM 


HE  Eternal  Hope"*  of  Canon  Farrar  nas  received 
~^<^  much  greater  consideration  than  it  deserves,  chiefly 
on  account  of  the  prominent  position  of  its  author,  and 
the  important  services  he  has  rendered  Christian  lit- 
erature, and  the  fact  that  such  sentiments  and  opinions 
are  tolerated  in  men  of  the  highest  standing,  within  the 
pale  of  the  Church  of  England.  Brilliant,  impassioned  and  elo- 
quent as  all  his  writings  are,  a  man  who  has  no  definite  belief  or 
convictions  regarding  the  duration  of  future  punishment,  should  be 
less  lavish  in  hurling  anathemas  at  others  who  are  as  sincere  in 
their  belief  as  Canon  Farrar  is  in  his  doubts.  Indeed  it  may  be 
said  with  good  reason,  that  the  man  who  has  nothing  but  a  hope, 
and  shrinks  from  accepting  or  rejecting  the  teachings  of  universal- 
ism  on  the  one  hand,  and  orthodoxy  on  the  other  hand,  is  not  in 
the  best  position  to  brand  those  who  differ  from  him  as  hard-heart- 
ed, cruel  and  revengeful.  It  has  ever  been  found  that  those  who 
accept  without  cavilling  the  teachings  of  Scripture  regarding  ever- 
lasting punishment,  are  those  who,  with  tender  pity  and  agonizing 
cries,  bend  over  and  beseech  men  to  be  reconciled   to   God.      As 

•  "  Eternal  Hope  — Five  8°rmons  preached  in  Westminster  Abbey,  .^'ovember  and 
December  1877,  by  the  Kev.  Frederick  W.  Farrar  D.  D.,  F.  R.  S.,  (Janon  of  Westmius- 
ter,  Chaplain  in  ordinary  to  the  Queen  &c  ,  &c. 


174  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Professor  Phelps  truly  says  :  "  Unbelievers  in  the  doctrine  of  future 
punishment  are  never,  on  any  very  large  scale,  efficient  supporters 
of  missions.  Why  is  this  ?  Simply  because  they  do  not  believe, 
as  others  do,  that  this  is  a  lost  world.  Not  believing  this  element- 
ary fact  of  the  situation,  they  unconsciously  lower  the  whole  re- 
demptive work  of  Christ  to  the  level  and  to  the  temperature  of 
that  negative." 

The  views  held  by  Canon  Farrar  have  already  been  summar- 
ised ;  affirming  neither  the  universalist  nor  agnostic  theories,  he 
indulges  in  an  eternal  hope,  and  lifts  up  behind  the  darkness  in  th2 
back  ground,  the  hope  that  every  winter  will  turn  to  spring. 

In  justice  to  such  a  distinguished  man,  it  is  only  fair  that  they 
should  be  given,  in  his  own  words,  and  at  greater  length. 

Universalism,  which  teaches  that  the  infinite  love  of  God  cannot 
punish  the  creature  throughout  eternity,  he  cannot  accept,  inasmuch 
as  however  deeply  he  desires  such  to  be  the  will  of  God,  and  thinks 
it  in  accord  with  mercy  and  justice  that  sinners  should  ultimately 
be  restored  and  forgiven,  it  is  not  clearly  revealed  to  us,  and  no 
one  can  estimate  the  power  of  the  human  will  to  reject  the  love  of 
God. 

Conditional  Immortality  or  annihilationism  he  rejects,  as  having 
little  basis  in  God's  word.  The  almost  universal  and  instinctive 
belief  in  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  which  is  found  in  every  age, 
is  against  it,  and  it  leaves  us  with  the  awful  conclusion,  that  God 
raises  up  the  wicked  from  death,  only  that  they  ma)-  be  tormented 
and  finally  destroyed. 

Purgatory,  which  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  describes,  as  a 
fire,  where  the  souls  of  the  righteous  are  purified  by  punishment  of 
some  fixed  period,  that  entrance  may  be  given  them  into  their 
eternal  home,  he  rejects,  not  because  he  is  averse  to  the  acceptance 
of  the  truth  which  the  word  purgatory  involves  ;  but  because  it  is 
mixed  up  with  a  number  of  views,  in  which  he  cannot  believe. 


OPTIMISM.  175 

As  regards  the  evang-elical  and  commonly  received  doctrines  of 
everlasting  punishment,  he  does  not  deny  the  doctrine  of  future 
retribution  ;  he  believes  that  sin  cannot  be  forgiven  until  it  is  re- 
pented of  and  forsaken,  and  that  the  doom  of  sin  is  both  merciful 
and  just.  Thus  far  he  agrees  with  the  teachings  of  the  church. 
But  he  rejects,  (a)  Physical  torments  (in  which  it  need  hardly  be 
said,  he  does  not  stand  alone)  ;  (b)  The  doctrine  that  future  pun- 
ishment is  necessarily  endless  ;  (c)  That  the  vast  mass  of  mankind 
will  suffer  such  ;  and  (d)  That  this  doom  is  passed  irrevocably  at 
the  moment  of  death,  upon  all  who  die  in  a  state  of  sin.  (Only 
the  second  and  fourth  of  these  particulars  are  fundamental  beliefs 
in  the  Protestant  creed,  as  Canon  Farrar  well  knows.) 

Canon  Farrar's  condemnation  of  all  who  differ  from  him,  is  sad- 
ly inconsistent  with  the  liberty  accorded  himself  as  a  dignitary  of 
the  Church  of  England.  He  cannot  see  how  any  man  who  has  a 
heart  of  pity  can  believe  in  the  eternal  duration  of  punishment ;  he 
charges  his  ministerial  brethren  of  the  orthodox  faith  with  evasion 
and  endless  modifications  and  sophistries,  to  get  rid  of  teaching 
what  they  do  not  believe,  although  solemnly  subscribed  to  in  the 
confessions  of  their  church,  He  ascribes  the  prevalence  of  infidel- 
ity to  the  revolt  of  an  indignant  conscience  against  the  teaching  of 
everlasting  punishment  as  an  essential  part  of  the  gospel,  while  at 
the  same  time  he  subscribes  to  the  agnostic  creed  of  "  in  memori- 

am  "  : — • 

"  Behold,  we  know  not  anything, 
lean  but  trust  that  good  shall  fall 
At  last — ^far  off — at  last  to  all. 
And  every  winter  turn  to  spring." 

"The  complacency  of  ignorance  that  takes  itself  for  know- 
ledge," he  says,  "  may  be  ready  with  glaring  and  abhorent  pictures 
of  fire  and  brimstone,  and  dilate  upon  the  awfulness  of  the  suffer- 
ings of  the  damned  ;  but  those  whose  faith  must  have  a  broader 
basis  than  the  halting  reconciliation  of  ambiguous  and  opposing 
texts  ;  who  grieve  at  the  dark  shadows  flung  by  human  theologians 


17<5  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

athwart  God's  light ;  who  beh'eve  that  reason,  and  conscience,  and 
experience,  as  well  as  Scripture,  are  books  of  God,  which  must 
have  a  direct  voice  in  those  great  decisions,  will  not  be  so  ready  to 
snatch  God's  thunder  into  their  own  wretched  and  feeble  hands, 
and  undeterred  by  the  base  and  feeble  notion  that  virtue  would  be 
impossible  without  the  horrors  of  an  endless  hell,  will  declare  their 
hope  and  trust  that  even  alter  death,  through  the  infinite  mercy  of 
God,  many  of  the  dead  shall  be  alive  again,  and  the  lost  be  found." 
Finally  he  insinuates  thit  those  who  believe  in  the  final  restitution 
of  all  things,  and  the  ingathering  of  both  wicked  and  good  into 
heaven,  are  the  most  God-like  : — 

"The  wish  that,  of  the  living  whole, 
No  life  may  fail  beyond  the  grave, 
Derives  it  not  from  what  we  have, 

The  likest  God  within  the  soul." 

Canon  Farrar,  in  his  eagerness  to  show  the  awful  cruelty  of 
those  who  believe  in  eternal  punishment,  draws  pictures  of  hell, 
and  uses  language,  which  he  knows  well  are  never  used  at  the 
present  day,  and  which  belong  to  an  age  when  the  modes  of  thought 
and  speech  were  radically  different  from  that  of  modern  times.  The 
conception  of  hell,  as  held  by  orthodox  Christians,  he  describes  as 
"  a  vast  and  burning  prison,  in  which  the  souls  of  millions  and  mil- 
lions writhe  and  shriek  forever,  tormented  in  a  flame  that  never 
will  be  quenched  " — as  "  a  great  lake  or  liquid  globe  of  fire,  in  which 
the  wicked  shall  be  overwhelmed,  which  shall  always  be  in  tempest 
in  which  they  shall  be  tossed  to  and  fro,  having  no  rest  day  nor 
night,  vast  billows  of  fire  continually  rolling  over  their  heads,  of 
which  they  shall  ever  be  full  of  a  quick  sense,  within  and  without, 
their  eyes,  their  tongues,  their  hands,  their  feet,  their  loins,  and  their 
vitals  shall  forever  be  full  of  a  glowing,  melting  fire,  enough  to 
melt  the  very  rocks  and  elements — all  this  not  for  ten  millions  of 
ages,  but  for  ever  and  ever,  without  end  at  all."  That  such  lan- 
guage has  been  used,  all  conversant  with  the  literature  of  this  sub 


OPTIMISM.  1/7 

ject  wi!!  admit,  but  that  any  number  have  "  exulted  in  such  views 
of  everlasting  punishment,"  and  not  rather  mourned,  what  seemed 
to  them  the  fatal  necessity  for  believing  them,  is  a  statement  wholly 
unsupported  by  facts.  It  is  not  after  such  a  manner  that  the  great 
Nonconformist  divines  have  held  and  taught  it,  nor  has  it  ever  been 
held  as  he  describes  it  by  the  highest  class  of  theologians  in  the 
Church  of  England,  and  even  these  frightful  pictures  of  everlasting 
punishment  by  Tertullian  and  others,  quoted  by  Canon  Farrar,  are 
not  one  whit  more  vivid  and  repeilant  than  his  own,  when  describ- 
ing the  hrrrors  of  delirium  tremens  in  the  drunkard.  "  Have  you 
ever  seen — if  not,  may  you  never  see — a  young  man  suffering  from 
delirium  tremens?  Have  you  ever  heard  him  describe  its  horrors 
— horrors  such  as  not  even  Dante  imagined  in  the  most  harrowing 
scenes  of  his  "Inferno" — the  blood  red  suffusion  of  the  eyes 
quenched  suddenly  in  darkness — the  myriads  of  burning,  whirling 
rings  of  concentric  fire — millions  of  foul  insects  seeming  to  weave 
their  damp,  soft  webs  about  the  face — the  bloated,  hideous,  ever 
changing  faces  of  their  visions — the  feeling  as  if  a  man  were  falling, 
falling,  falling  endlessly,  into  a  fathomless  abyss.  This  is  the  goal 
to  which  intemperance  leads — as  thou  lovest  thine  own  soul,  it  is 
better  for  thee  to  enter  into  life  bh'nd  and  maimed  rather  than  cast 
thyself  into  this  Gehenna  of  Aeonian  fire — this  depth  of  disgrace 
and  of  corruption,  where  the  worm  of  the  drunkard  dieth  not,  and 
his  fire  is  not  quenched."  Now,  no  one  finds  fault  with  Canon 
Farrar  in  using  such  methods,  to  deter  men  from  the  terrible  re- 
sults of  intemperance.  If  one  drunkard  can  be  reclaimed  by  the 
use  of  such  dark  coloring,  it  is  fully  warranted.  But  why  should 
Canon  Farrar  rebuke  earnest  men,  who  in  the  very  same  manner 
seek  to  reclaim  their  fellows  from  eternal  misery,  towards  which  in- 
temperance is  one  of  the  many  gateways  ?  The  Scriptures  indulge 
in  no  such  "  ghastly  "  modes  of  warning  men  to  flee  from  the  wrath 
to  come.  "  Their  warnings  are  the  more  impressive  because  the 
words  are  fev^  ■'nd  simple,  severe  in  their  calm  grandeur  of  earnest 
12 


17^^  FUTUKli    I'UNISIIMENT. 

caution  ;  outer  darkness,  weeping,  mourning  and  gnashing  of  teeth." 
Surely  it  were  inorc  seemly  and  more  befitting  the  dignity  of  the 
scholar,  for  him  to  prove  that  the  punishment  of  the  wicked  is  not 
eternal,  without  regard  to  the  varied  coloring  given  to  such  punish- 
ment, from  age  to  age  ! 

What  then  does  Canon  Farrar's  optimistic  theory  amount  to? 
To  the  question,  what  shall  be  the  condition  of  the  impenitent 
dead,  what  does  he  reply  ?  Absolutely  nothing.  He  indulges  a 
hope,  but  he  gives  no  valid  scriptural  grounds  for  his  hope.  While 
repudiating  controversy,  he  does  all  he  can  to  teach  men  to  reject 
and  even  detest,  one  of  the  fundamental  articles  of  Christian  belief. 
He  argues  as  if  the  universe  ought  to  have  been  governed  on  the 
principle,  that  its  ruler  never  would  inflict  pain  upon  any  creature 
of  his  hand,  and  that  eternal  punishment  is  antagonistic  to  the 
mercy  and  justice  of  God.  Surely  one  who  denies  with  such  bit- 
terness the  teachings  of  Christendom,  and  casts  dishonor  upon  good 
men,  who  present  the  torments  of  Hell  in  terms  uncouth  to  ears 
polite,  should  be  ready  to  give  a  reason  for  the  hope  that  is  in  him. 
Endless  punishment  he  cannot  find  in  Scripture  ;  he  thinks  it  may 
mean  an  intermediate,  a  remedial,  a  metaphorical,  a  terminable 
retribution  ;  he  shakes  off  the  hideous  incubus  of  atrocious  con- 
ceptions, attached  to  the  commonly  received  doctrines  of  future 
misery.  But  what  positive  teaching  does  he  give  us  ?  He  dare 
not  dogmatize  as  to  forgiveness  beyond  the  grave  ;  he  cannot  be- 
lieve in  purgatory,  or  conditional  immortality,  or  universalism,  al- 
though he  speaks  of  the  latter  with  approval.  He  affirms  that  God 
has  given  us  no  clear  and  decisive  revelation,  as  to  the  final  condi- 
tion of  those  who  die  in  sin,  and  only  hopes  that  the  vast  majoritx- 
of  the  lost  may  be  found.  Souls  that  in  this  world  have  failed  to 
secure  forgiveness  "  may  entertain  hope,  though  they  may  have  to 
be  purified  beyond  the  grave."  His  creed  may  be  summed  up  in 
these  words  !  "  The  destruction  of  the  work  of  the  devil  in  the 
universe  by  the  hand  of  God  ;  sin    withered  under  the  curse  of  the 


OPTIMISM.  179 

souls  that  were  once  its  victims,  the  devil  spoiled  of  his  dark  do- 
minion by  the  hand  of  omnipotent  love  ;  Hell  destroyed  and  Christ 
triumphant,  gathering-  the  spoils  of  his  cross  and  passion  here  and 
in  all  worlds." 

That  there  are  certain  popular  preachers  and  theologians,  who 
sympathize  with  Canon  Farrar  is  well  known.  In  no  case,  however, 
do  they  give  us  anything  more  explicit,  than  that  of  the  sermons 
under  review.  The  assertion  of  "The  hope,"  is  indeed  so  qualified, 
as  to  indicate  the  baselessness  of  the  theory  alike  as  regards  reason 
and  Scripture.  A  recent  candidate  appearing  before  a  New  Eng- 
land congregational  council  for  examination,  qualifies  his  accept- 
ance of  the  orthodox  creed  in  the  following  terms: — (i)  The 
Judge  of  all  the  earth  will  do  right.  (2)  No  soul  will  be  saved 
except  on  the  basis  of  conversion  and  regeneration,  (3)  No  soul 
will  be  lost  until  all  the  resources  of  divine  love  consistent  with 
human  freedom  have  been  exhausted.  He  said  unqualifiedly  that 
he  had  no  hope  to  extend  to  any  sinner  beyond  the  moment  that 
salvation  was  offered  him.  While  he  declined  to  make  any  dog- 
matic statement  concerning  whether  any  opportunity  might  be 
offered  of  repentance  after  death,  he  distinctly  and  emphatically 
said  that  he  had  no  hope  to  offer  to  any  of  such  an  opportunity, 
and  that  he  preached  the  duty  of  immediate  repentance,  under  peril 
of  being  eternally  lost.  Dr.  Donald  McLcod,  Editor  of  "  Good 
Words,"  writing  on  the  future  destiny  of  the  wicked,  says  he  has 
no  difficulty  in  rejecting  the  popular  conception  of  the  future  pun- 
ishment which  represents  infinite  and  eternal  torment,  as  the  pen- 
alty fixed  by  God  for  some  definite  act  or  acts  done  in  this  life. 
But  the  real  difficulty,  he  adds,  refers  not  to  the  eternity  of  punish- 
ment but  to  the  continuance  of  sin.  We  see  the  sinner  growing 
worse  in  this  world,  in  spite  of  every  deterring  influence.  Is  it  not 
conceivable  that  such  a  career  may  continue  ?  Having  resisted  God 
for  so  long,  he  may  do  so  for  ever.  In  this  world  we  are  met  by 
too  many  terrible  facts  to  warrant  our  constructing,  on  merely  an- 


iSo  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

teccdcnt  reasoning,  the  vision  of  an  absolutely  happy  universe. 
Nevertheless,  while  recognizing  the  difficulties  that  beset  the  sub- 
ject, Dr.  Macleod  thinks  we  are  permitted  to  fall  back  with  reverent 
hearts  on  the  "  larger  hope  "  of  "  restitution  of  all  things."  At  the 
same  time,  he  feels  that  assertions  are  made  on  this  dark  question 
which  betray  great  lack  of  thoughtfulness.  "  The  difficulties  that 
surround  it  cannot,  unfortunatel}-,  be  swept  away  at  the  bidding  of 
mere  generous  sentiment." 

In  much  stronger  terms,  as  might  be  expected,  but  still  less 
satisfactory,  Mr.  Bcechcr,  speaking  of  the  myriads  of  men  who  are 
living  without  God,  and  without  hope  in  the  world,  thus  delivers 
himself: 

"  If,  now,  you  tell  me,  that  this  great  mass  of  men,  because  they 
had  not  the  knowledge  of  God,  went  to  heaven,  I  say  that  the  in- 
road of  such  a  vast  amount  of  mud  swept  into  heaven  would  be 
destructive  of  its  purity  ;  I  cannot  accept  that  view.  If,  on  the 
other  hand,  you  say  that  they  went  to  hell,  then  you  make  an  infidel 
of  me  ;  for  I  do  swear,  by  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  by  his  groans,  by 
his  tears,  and  by  the  wounds  in  his  hands  and  in  his  side,  that  I  will 
never  let  go  of  the  truth,  that  the  nature  of  God  is  to  suffer  for 
others,  rather  than  to  make  them  suffer.  If  I  lose  everything  else, 
I  will  stand  on  the  sovereign  idea  that  God  so  loved  the  world  that 
he  gave  his  own  Son  to  die  for  it  rather  than  it  should  die.  Tell 
me  that  back  of  Christ  there  is  a  God,  who  for  unnumbered  cen- 
turies has  gone  on  creating  men  and  sweeping  them  like  dead  flies 
— nay,  like  living  ones — into  hell,  is  to  ask  me  to  worship  a  being 
as  much  worse  than  the  conception  of  any  mediaeval  devil  as  can 
be  imagined  ;  but  I  will  not  worship  the  devil,  though  he  should 
come  dressed  in  roj'al  robes,  and  sit  on  the  throne  of  Jehovah,  But 
it  is  not  true — the  Scripture  does  not  teach  it,  and  the  whole  sense 
of  human  justice  revolts  at  it — that  for  the  myriads  who  have  been 
swept  out  of  this  life  without  the  light  and  knowledge  of  the  divine 
iove  there  is  reserved  an  eternity  of  suffering.     In  that  mystery  of 


OPTIMISM.  i8r 

the  divine  will  and  work  of  which  the  apostle  speaks,  in  the  far-off 
dispensation  of  the  fullness  of  time,  there  is  some  other  solution 
than  this  nightmare  of  a  mediaeval  theology.  But  has  not  God  jus- 
tice also  ?  And  is  he  not  of  purer  eyes  than  to  behold  iniquity  ? 
Yes.  And  the  distinction  between  right  and  wrong  are  as  eternal 
as  God  himself  The  relation  between  sin  and  retribution  belongs 
not  to  the  mere  temporal  condition  of  things  ;  it  inheres  in  the 
divine  constitution,  aud  is  for  all  eternity.  THE  PROSPECT  FOR 
ANY  MAN  WHO  GOES  OUT  OF  THIS  LIFE  RESOLUTE  IN  SIN  MAY 
WELL  MAKE  HIM  TREMBLE  FOR  HIMSELF,  AND  MAY  WELL  MAKE 
US   TREMBLE    FOR   HIM  !  " 

"  Full  of  sound  and  fury,  signifying  nothing,"  may  fitly  be  ap- 
plied to  such  declamation.  It  is  not  only  entirely  unsatisfactory, 
but  is  entirely  out  of  place  when  discussing  such  a  momentous 
theme. 

It  is  not  wonderful,  then,  that  the  most  learned  and  pious  divines 
in  Europe  have  denounced  such  endeavors  to  unsettle  men's  minds, 
without  giving  them  anything  like  presumptive  evidence  of  the 
theory  enunciated.  As  has  been  well  said,  it  is  not  wise  to  leave 
huge  vacant  spaces,  like  the  wastes  within  the  walls  of  Rome  and 
Constantinople,  in  men's  minds,  where  once  some  definite  notions 
as  to  one  of  the  most  momentous  topics  which  can  exercise  thought, 
were  held.  But  this  is  what  Canon  Farrar  has  done.  There  is  no 
difficulty  in  understanding  what  he  denies,  but  it  is  hard  to  discover 
what  he  asserts  or  believes.  He  ridicules  the  poetry  and  parables 
and  metaphors  of  Scripture,  when  used  in  support  of  the  doctrine 
of  everlasting  punishment,  but  when  isolated  texts  can  be  wrenched 
from  their  plain  contextual  meaning,  and  when  tradition  favors  his 
views,  he  has  no  scruples  to  use  them.  His  teaching  is  destructive 
— to  pull  down — to  undermine  faith  in  the  most  tremendous  reali- 
ties of  the  future.  It  may  not  be  Universalism  in  so  many  words, 
but  for  all  practical  purposes  the  difference  is  so  little,  it  may  be 
regarded  as  essentially  the  same. 


l82  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Now  let  us  ask,  what  is  the  benefit  of  such  a  vague  eternal  hope, 
when  the  minister  of  religion  leaves  his  pulpit,  and  stands  face  to  face 
with  some  anxious  soul,  which  is  soon  to  appear  before  its  Maker  ? 
When  the  mind,  "diseased  with  sin's  hot  fever,"  cries  out  piteously 
for  something  solid  to  rest  upon,  apart  from  the  mere  conjectures 
of  any  living  man — whether  is  it  wiser  to  hold  up  before  the  vision 
of  the  dying  man  this  fond  dream  of  universal  blessedness,  or  rather 
• — while  not  holding  back,  nor  toning  down  "the  terrors  of  the 
Lord  " — to  press  home  the  question — "  How  shall  we  escape  if  we 
neglect  so  great  salvation,"  affirming  at  the  same  time — that  ere  we 
leave  the  world,  the  blood  of  Jesus  Christ  can  cleanse  from  all  sin, 
that  he  that  believeth  is  not  condemned,  and  that  even  the  would- 
be-suicide  and  murderer,  who  accepts  a  Saviour,  shall  be  saved  ? 

In  regard  to  the  old  fashioned  method  of  presenting  the  doctrine 
of  eternal  punishment,  which  Canon  Farrar  so  severely  denounces, 
we  in  the  main  agree  with  him.  While  no  man  dare  rashly  say 
what  kind  of  torment  is  in  store  for  the  impenitent — for  this  is  one 
of  the  secrets  which  belong  to  God — it  is  not  well  to  present  pic- 
tures to  the  imagination  that  are  not  fully  warranted  by  Scripture. 
God's  Word,  while  clearly  teaching  the  indestructibility  of  the  soul, 
as  against  the  teachings  of  Materialism  and  Annihilationism,  and 
giving,  as  we  think,  little  ground  for  believing  that  men  who  des- 
pise mercy  here,  shall  repent  and  be  saved  hereafter,  does  not  cer- 
tainly seek  to  drive  men,  without  the  ccuisent  ot  their  reason  and 
will,  to  a  change  of  conduct.  The  obedience  of  love  is  much  more 
noble  than  anything  that  is  extorted  by  mere  terror.  As  has  been 
well  said,  to  paralyze  a  man's  mind  with  fear  at  impending  danger 
is  not  the  best  way  of  enabling  him  to  avoid  it,  and  to  draw  tragic 
pictures  of  hell  is  not  the  best  wa)^  to  keep  men  from  falling  into  it. 

In  his  reply  to  the  many  pungent  criticisms  that  followed  the 
publication  of  "  Eternal  hope,"  Canon  Farrar  attempts  to  justify 
his  position.  We  look  in  vain,  however,  for  anything  more  sat- 
isfactory or  positive   than   in  the   original   work.       He   complains 


OPTIMISM.  I  S3 

that  the  circumstances  under  which  his  book  was  published  have 
been  overlooked  or  ignored.  It  did  not  profess  to  be  a  formal  treatise. 
"The  main  part  of  it  consisted  of  sermons,  written  under  the  dif- 
ficulty of  interrupted  leisure  and  uninterrupted  anxieties  ;  written 
a  day  or  two  before  they  were  delivered  ;  written  to  be  addressed 
to  large  miscellaneous  audiences  ;  written  lastly  under  the  influence 
of  emotions  which  had  been  deeply  stirred  by  circumstances,  and 
had  taken  the  strongest  possible  hold  of  my  imagination  and  memo- 
ry. While  I  was  musing,  the  fire  burned,  and  it  was  only  at  the 
last  that  I  spake  with  my  tongue.  It  is  not  thus  that  I  should 
have  addressed  a  small  audience  of  learned  theologians.  It  is  not 
thus  that  I  should  have  addressed  ANY  audience  but  one  which  for 
the  time  being  I  could  regard  as  my  own.  Expressing  the  same 
convictions  I  should  have  formulated  them  with  more  deliberate 
completeness." 

But  it  was  not  the  setting  of  the  sermons,  so  much  as  the  reck- 
lessness and  daring,  with  which  the  profoundest  convictions  of  the 
Christian  world  were  assailed,  that  startled  and  shocked  the  religi- 
ous feelings.  Nor  is  there  any  necessity  for  excusing  his  first  and 
hurried  preparations,  if  after  the  lapse  of  years,  in  the  calm  leisure 
of  his  study,  he  still  maintains  his  theory  without  qualification, 
against  the  views  of  others.     His  more  recent  utterances  are  these  : 

"  I  am  NOT  a  Universalist.  I  do  not  mean  that  I  condemn  the 
doctrine  as  heretical  or  untenable  ;  or  that  I  do  not  feel  (can  there 
be  such  a  wretch  as  not  to  feel?)  a  longing,  yearning  DESIRE  that 
it  might  be  true.  But  I  dare  not  say  that  it  MUST  be  true,  because, 
as  I  intimated  in  my  book,  no  man  has  ever  explained  the  present 
existence  of  evil,  and  no  man  has  ever  sounded  or  can  know  the 
abysmal  deeps  of  personality  or  '  the  marvel  of  the  everlasting 
will." 

I  have  advocated  the  ancient  and  Scriptural  doctrine  of  an  in- 
terval between  death  and  doom,  during  which  state — whether  it  be 
regarded  as  purgatorial,  as  disciplinary,  as  probational,  or  as  retri- 


184  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

butivc — whcllicr  the  ?Eon  to  which  it  belongs  be  long  or  sliort — 
we  see  no  Scriptural  or  other  reason  to  deny  the  possible  continu- 
ance of  God's  gracious  work  of  redemption  and  santification  for  the 
souls  of  men  ;  and  I  have  added  that  I  can  find  nothing  in  Scrip- 
ture or  elsewhere,  to  prove  tliat  the  ways  of  God's  salvation  neces- 
sarily tenninate  with  carthl)-  life.  1  have  never  denied— nay,  I 
have  endeavored  to  support  and  illustrate — the  doctrine  of  Retri- 
bution, both  in  this  life  and  the  life  to  come.  I  have  never  said — 
as  I  am  slanderously  reported  to  have  said — that  there  is  no  "Hell," 
but  only  (and  surely  this  should  have  been  regarded  as  a  self- 
evident  proposition)  that  "  Hell ''  must  mean  what  those  words 
mean  of  which  it  is  the  professed  translation  ;  and  that  those  words 
— Hades,  Gehen.na,  Tartarus — mean  something  much  less  incon- 
ceivable, much  less  horribl)-  hopeless,  than  what  "  Hell  "  originally 
meant,  and  than  what  it  has  come  to  connote  in  current  religious 
teaching.  I  have  not  maintained  Universalism,  in  spite  of  much 
apparent  sanction  for  such  a  hope  in  the  unlimited  language  of  St. 
Paul,  because  I  did  not  wish  to  dogmatize  respecting  things  uncer- 
tain, and  because  I  wished  to  give  full  weight  to  every  serious  con- 
sideration which  may  be  urged  against  the  acceptance  of  such  a 
hope.  I  hive  earnestly  maintained  that  no  soul  can  be  saved  while 
it  continues  in  sin,  or  saved  by  any  means  except  the  efficacy  of 
Christ's  redemption.  So  far  from  derogating  from  the  necessity  of 
that  awful  sacrifice — as  has  been  so  often  and  so  strangely  asserted 
— I  know  of  literally  nothing  which  is  so  infinitel)'  calculated  to 
enhance  our  sense  of  its  blessedness,  or  our  love  to  Him  who  made 
it,  as  the  hope  that  its  power  will  be  unexhausted  even  be^-ond  the 
grave. 

Seeing  that  repentance  is  always  possible  in  life — seeing  that  so 
long  as  life  lasts  any  man  may  become  good — the  Law  of  Contin- 
uity was  one  of  the  ver}'  grounds  on  which  I  based  the  doctrine  of 
Eternal  Hope.  If  the  greatness  of  God's  mercies  lasts  till  the  grave, 
the  Law  of  Continuity  strengthens  our  hope  that  it  will  not  be  for 


OPTIMISM.  185 

ever  cut  short  by  the  accident  of  death.  If  the  efficacy  of  Christ's 
atonement  lasts  till  death,  the  Law  of  Continuity  helps  to  strength- 
en our  conviction,  that  the  love  of  God  cannot  be  the  one  Divine 
power  in  the  universe  which,  for  man  at  any  rate,  is  paralyzed  by 
the  hand  of  death." 

Among  the  many  able  and  scholarly  replies  to  Canon  Farrar, 
by  English  divines,  that  of  Dr.  Allon.  of  London,  is  worthy  of  con- 
densation.    It  is  as  follows  : — 

"  The  accretions  which  ignorant  literalism,  poets  and  painters, 
and  above  all,  perhaps,  priestcraft,  have  clustered  around  the  root- 
idea  of  the  retribution  of  sin  in  the  future  life,  may  be  pulverized 
by  a  more  spiritual  conception  ;  and  yet  it  may  remain  true  that 
the  retributive  sequences  of  sin  are  irreversible,  and  even  unending. 
The  argument  which  is  to  decide  the  question  must  deal  not  so 
much  with  the  ignorant  and  popular  perversion,  nor  with  the  im- 
aginative forms  of  the  painter,  the  poet  and  the  rhetorician,  nor 
with  the  metaphorical  forms  of  Scripture  representation  even,  but 
with  the  root  idea  of  retribution,  and  with  the  exact  evidence  that 
revelation,  the  moral  sense,  philosophy,  and  experience  may  furnish. 

Thus  reduced,  it  will  hardly  be  maintained  that  the  subjective 
consciousness  of  a  man,  however  elevated  and  refined  by  pure  religi- 
ous feeling,  is  competent  to  demonstrate — (i)  Whether  the  sequen- 
ces of  sin  will  in  the  future  life  be  reversible  ?  (2)  Whether,  if  they 
are  not,  they  are  terminable  ?  For  all  information  concerning  the 
facts  and  the  characteristics  of  the  life  hereafter,  whether  affecting 
the  saved  or  the  lost,  we  are  necessarily  dependent  upon  the  testi- 
mony of  revelation,  whatever  the  verifying  functions  of  our  own 
reason  and  moral  faculty.  Naturally,  therefore,  our  first  inquiry  is 
concerning  the  testimony  of  Christ,  who  hath  "  brought  life  and 
immortality  to  light." 

That  the  conception  of  God  as  an  Almighty  being,  inflicting 
eternal  torment  upon  his  creatures  by  acts  of  material  punish- 
ment, such  as  the  mediaev^al  Church   represented,   contradicts   such 


l86  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

elementary  feelings,  is  fully  conceded.  Good  men  have  had  forcibly 
to  subdue  this  feeling,  to  reason  it  down  by  logic,  or  to  determine  to 
believe  in  spite  of  it,  because  they  deemed  it  authoritatively  taught. 
Almost  by  common  consent,  however,  men  are  renouncing  tradi- 
tional beliefs  in  the  material  interpretations  put  upon  the  Scripture 
symbolism  of  retribution,  and  are  inquiring  concerning  the  moral 
ideas  and  processes  which  these  represent. 

Is  there,  then,  in  our  moral  nature,  when  purest  and  most  de- 
vout, anything  to  which  the  idea  of  finality,  as  we  have  suggested 
it,  is  in  moral  contradiction  ? 

So  far  as  equity  goes,  accepting  the  law  of  retribution  as  gradu- 
ated by  the  Apostle,  in  Romans  ii. — viz.,  that  men's  responsibility, 
and  therefore,  ther  culpability,  is  limited  by  theiir  light  and  their 
personal  ability,  their  opportunity  and  their  circumstances — the 
moral  sense  cannot  object.  It  is  a  rule  of  equity  universally 
applicable. 

Looking  at  our  Lord's  sayings  broadly  and  popularly,  and  with 
such  a  degree  of  deference  to  possible  meanings  of  words  as  popu- 
lar teaching  may  admit,  I  cannot  resist  the  conclusion  that  in  the 
most  absolute  manner  He  affirmed  and  intended  to  affirm  the 
finality  of  religious  conditions  after  death.  It  would  do  violence  to 
common  sense,  to  intellectual  respect,  and  to  moral  feeling,  to  sup- 
pose that  his  words  conveyed  a  meaning  diametrically  opposite  to 
that  which  he  intended — that  when  He  meant  to  say  that  retribu- 
tion was  terminable.  He  was  understood  to  mean  that  it  was  unend- 
ing. He  would  surely  have  corrected  a  misapprehension  so  false, 
on  such  a  subject.  Undeveloped  meanings  there  necessarily  were, 
but  these  are  vastly  different  from  contradictory  meanings. 

Due  allowance  being  made  for  rhetoric  and  poetry  in  certain 
passages,  no  authority  can  be  drawn  from  Apostolic  writings  for 
any  theory  of  Universalism  or  of  a  second  probation. 

Notwithstanding,  therefore,  the  strongest  predisposition  to  opti- 
mist views  concerning  this  great  and  fearful  problem,    I    feel  com- 


OPTIMISM.  187 

pelled  to  the  conclusion  that  the  testimony  both  of  Scripture  and 
of  the  moral  judgment  is  in  favor  of  the  finality  of  moral  condition 
after  death.  From  neither  does  the  theory  of  a  second  probation 
in  another  life,  under  other  and  more  favorable  conditions,  derive 
any  support.  Against  the  theory  that  the  ultimate  issue  in  the 
conflict  between  good  and  evil  will  be  the  necessary  salvation  of 
every  individual  moral  being,  the  presumption  seems  immense.  It 
is  contrary  to  all  experience  and  to  all  analogy,  it  puts  unauthor- 
ized limits  upon  human  freedom,  and  it  restricts  unwarrantably  the 
ways  and  issues  of  God's  holy  love." 

Those  who  have  read  Canon  Farrar's  "  Life  of  Christ,"  cannot 
fail  to  observe  how  materially  he  has  changed  his  views  since  he 
wrote  that  fascinating  volume.  In  chapter  44  of  that  work,  allud- 
ing to  the  narrative  of  the  rich  man  and  Lazarus,  he  says  :  "  This 
constant  reference  to  life  as  a  time  of  probation,  and  to  the  great 
judgment,  when  the  one  word,  '  Come  '  or  '  Depart,'  as  uttered  by 
the  Judge,  should  decide  all  controversies  and  all  questions  forever, 
naturally  turned  the  thoughts  of  many  listeners  to  these  solemn 
subjects."  Again  in  speaking  of  Christ's  answer  to  the  question, 
"  Are  there  few  that  be  saved  ?"  He  says  :  "  Since  the  efforts,  the 
woeful  efforts,  the  erring  efforts,  (to  enter  the  straight  gate)  of  many 
fail  ;  since  the  day  will  come  when  the  door  shall  be  shut,  and  it 
shall  be  forever  too  late  to  enter  there  ;  since  no  impassioned  ap- 
peal shall  then  admit ;  since  some  of  those  who,  in  their  spiritual 
pride,  thought  that  they  best  knew  the  Lord,  shall  hear  the  awful 
repudiation,  *  I  know  you  not ' — strive  ye  to  be  of  those  who  enter 
in."  Again,  speaking  of  Christ's  second  coming,  he  says  :  "  For 
though  till  then  all  the  various  fellowships  of  toil  or  friendliness 
should  continue,  that  night  would  be  one  of  fearful  and  final  separ- 
ations ! "  And  he  adds  :  "  The  disciples  were  startled  and  terrified 
by  words  of  such  solemnity." 

To  close  these  remarks  on  Canon  Farrar's  views,  surely  in  a 
matter  fraught  with  such  tremendous  consequences  of  weal  or  woe 


I88  FUTURE    rUNlSIIMENT. 

to  the  human  race,  it  is  not  by  passionate  unreasonable  appeals  to 
men's  feelings,  or  the  use  of  florid  rhetoric  that  holds  up  tu  scorn, 
what  has  been  the  faith  of  Christendom  for  centuries,  that  truth  is 
to  be  reached  and  such  a  question  settled  ?  To  dwell  upon  the 
love  of  God  exclusively,  without  regard  to  His  holiness  and  justice 
is  to  make  a  false  representation  of  the  Deity. 

"  A  God  all  mercy,  is  a  God  unjust." 

No  reader  of  history,  but  must  acknowledge  that  God  m  past 
ages  has  by  terrible  doings  punished  evil.  What  he  will  do  with 
sin  in  the  future,  it  is  not  for  man  to  predict.  Those  who  flippant- 
ly assert  that  God  cannot  exact  the  penalty  of  sin  throughout  all 
eternity,  ought  to  be  able  as  easily  to  explain  why  evil  exists  at  all. 
The  origin  of  sin  and  its  permission  for  so  long  a  time  is  the  mys- 
tery of  the  universe.  All  that  we  know  concerning  it  is  found  in 
the  word  of  God,  where  alone  are  to  be  found  any  statements  con- 
cerning the  future  condition  of  the  unsaved.  Appeals  to  reason  or 
moral  sense  leave  us  in  utter  uncertainty.  Those  who  are  trans- 
gressors of  the  law  whether  human  or  divine,  are  not  the  best  judges 
of  the  justice  of  the  decrees  that  condemn  them.  To  set  the  hu- 
man creature  above  his  Maker,  and  question  His  right  to  punish, 
is  to  reverse  the  order  of  things — dethrone  the  Almighty,  and  deny 
His  sovereign  right  to  the  correction  and  control  of  His  creatures 
as  he  sees  fit.  "  Nay,  but  O  man,  who  art  thou  that  repliest  against 
God  ?  Shall  the  thing  formed  say  to  him  that  formed  it,  why  hast 
Thou  made  me  thus  ?  What  if  God  is  willing  to  show  His  wrath, 
and  to  make  His  power  known,  endured  with  much  long-suffering, 
the  vessels  of  wrath  fitted  to  destructicn,  and  that  he  might  make 
known  the  riches  of  His  glory  on  the  vessels  of  mercy  which  He 
had  afore  prepared  unto  glory." 

Canon  Farrar  seeks  to  throw  contempt  on  the  generally  receiv- 
ed opinion  of  Christians  by  adding  to  their  creed,  what  I  trust  very 
few  believe,  that  the  vast  majority  of  mankind  shall  be  lost.      How 


OPTIMISM.  189 

the  heathen  are  to  be  dealt  with,  in  view  of  their  ignorance  of 
the  Gospel  of  Christ,  is  a  question  that  has  never  yet  been  categor- 
ically answered  by  the  deepest  thinkers  of  the  age.  This  much  we 
know,  that  merciful  allowance  will  be  made  for  such  as  have  not 
enjoyed  the  light  of  Christianity — that  according  to  privilege  and 
opportunity  shall  be  their  accountability  and  deserts.  "  He  that 
knew  not  his  Lord's  will  and  did  commit  things  worthy  of  stripes 
shall  be  beaten  with  few  stripes."  It  shall  be  more  tolerable  for 
the  land  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah  in  the  day  of  judgment,  than 
for  nominal  Christians  who  reject  the  truth. 

Belief  in  the  doctrine  of  endless  punishment  by  no  means  con- 
signs the  majority  of  our  race  to  eternal  death.  On  the  contrary, 
the  generally  accepted  opinion  of  the  Christian  Church,  favors  the 
ultimate  salvation  of  a  very  large  proportion  of  the  human  family. 
While  there  seems  to  be  no  hope  held  out  for  such  as  despise 
offered  mercy,  there  are  many  reasons  in  harmony  with  revelation, 
that  lead  us  to  conclude  that  a  number  that  no  man  can  number, 
shall  at  last  be  gathered  into  heaven.  When  we  think  of  the  many 
generations  who  lived  and  died  before  the  advent,  and  the  partial 
diffusion  of  the  gospel  since  ;  and  still  further,  that  those  who  die 
in  infancy  or  who  are  not  gifted  with  ordinary  capacity  are  saved 
without  any  instrumentality  on  the  part  of  man  ;  "  we  dare  not  fix 
any  definite  amount  of  knowledge  and  profession  as  indispensable 
to  salvation,  or  pronounce  that  the  area  of  salvation  is  co-extensive 
with  those  portions  of  the  globe  where  knowledge  has  been  en- 
joyed, and  where  the  truth  of  God  has  taken  effect  upon  the 
heart."  Rather  we  may  hope  that  large  numbers  of  souls,  beyond 
all  human  calculation,  shall  be  drawn  to  Christ.  Assuredly  the 
Judge  of  all  the  earth  shall  do  right.  His  justice  shall  be  amply 
vindicated  in  that  day,  when  he  turns  the  wisdom  of  men  into 
foolishness,  and  confounds  the  vain  imagination  of  their  hearts. 
No  mere  hope  then,  in  the  mercyof  God,  shall  stay  the  pronouncing 
of  sentence  and  the  infliction  of  doom. 


IpO  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

If  there  be  any  readers  of  these  pages,  who  have  nothinc^  more 
tlian  "a  hope "  that  God  will  in  some  way  condone  unforci^ivcn 
iniquity  in  the  future  world,  I  beg  them  to  seek  some  better  opiate 
to  soothe  the  unrestful  and  persistent  demands  of  the  soul  after 
peace.  Conjectures,  surmises,  speculations,  as  to  what  may  be,  or 
might  be,  ought  never  to  be  preached.  Wc  dare  not  preach  a  gos- 
pel which  says  in  effect — no  matter  what  you  do  now,  surely  God, 
in  his  infinite  mercy,  will,  at  some  time  future,  rectify  all  mistakes. 
For  if  men  are  in  no  danger  of  being  lost  forever,  they  do  not  need 
a  Saviour.  If  there  is  a  hope,  however  slender,  that  Ged  will  relax 
the  penalties  of  his  moral  government,  and  that  at  last,  independent 
of  present  conduct,  the  good  and  bad  alike  shall  be  restored  to  His 
image,  we  may  as  well  give  up  the  whole  scheme  of  redemption  as 
ai  idle  fable  and  nothing  more.  The  mass  of  men  need  no  excuse 
for  continuing  in  sin. 

Every  utterance  from  the  pulpit  that  weakens  the  sanctions  of 
virtue,  and  leads  men  to  continue  lives  of  sensuality,  profligacy  and 
dishonesty  in  the  hope  of  future  pardon,  and  escape  from  conse- 
quences in  some  intermediate  state  beyond  the  grave,  is  eagerly 
read.  If  there  is  the  least  doubt  as  to  the  certainty  of  punishment 
they  will  take  advantage  of  it.  Better  far  then  that  we  persuaded 
men  to  dread  sin,  more  than  the  penalty.  Had  they  correct  views 
of  the  heinousness  and  guilt  of  sin,  they  would  not  cry  out  against 
endless  punishment,  or  characterize  the  doctrine  as  inconsistent  with 
the  justice  of  God.  Instead  of  vain  efforts  to  believe  what  con- 
science denies,  they  would  accept  with  glad  and  simple  faith,  the 
all  sufficient  remedy  provided  for  sin.  If  the  Bible  contains  con- 
demnatory language,  it  is  no  less  replete  with  appeals  and  en- 
treaties. "  In  Christ  incarnate,  the  crucified,  risen  and  glorified 
one,  we  see  God  lifting  the  red  thunderbolt  of  His  wrath,  and 
holding  it  before  men  and  angels,  transformed  into  the  blazing  sun 
of  His  love."     As  the  well  known  hymn  says : 


c^TI^rTs^r.  191 

*'  Not  to  condemn  the  sons  of  men  ; 
The  son  of  God  appeared, 
No  weapons  in  his  hand  are  seen, 
Nor  voice  of  terror  heard. 

lie  came  to  raise  our  fallen  state, 

And  our  lost  hopes  restore, 
Faith  leads  us  to  the  mercy'  scai, 

And  bids  us  fear  no  n\ore." 

This  is  our  "  oloriial  hoiic,"  that  God  h.is  no  pleasure  in  the 
death  of  the  wicked  and  wills  not  that  any  should  perish.  Believ- 
ing; this,  we  live  forever.     In  the  words  of  the  poet: 

"  We  would  be  melted  by  the  heat  of  love, 
IW  llames  far  fiercer  than  arc  blown  to  prove, 
^\nd  purge  the  silver  ore  adulterate." 


c^ 


( 


w 


THE  CERTAINTY  OF  ENDLESS  PUNISHMENT, 

(With  special  reference  to  the  views  of  Canon  Farrak,) 

BY   THE 

REV.    W.   T.    G.    SHEDD,  D  D., 

Professor    in    Union    Theological   Seminary,  New   York. 


HE  chief  objections  to  the  doctrine  of  endless  punish- 
ment are  not  Biblical  but  speculative.  The  great 
majority  of  students  and  exegetes  find  the  tenet  in 
the  Hebrew  and  Greek  Scriptures.  Davidson,  the 
most  learned  of  English  rationalistic  critics,  explicitly  ac- 
^t^  knowledges  that  "  if  a  specific  sense  be  attached  to  words, 
never-ending  misery  is  enunciated  in  the  Bible.  On  the  presump- 
tion that  one  doctrine  is  taught,  it  is  the  eternity  of  hell  torments. 
Bad  exegesis  may  attempt  to  banish  it  from  the  New  Testament 
Scriptures,  but  it  is  still  there,  and  expositors  who  wish  to  get  rid 
of  it,  as  Canon  Farrar  does,  injure  the  cause  they  have  in  view  by 
misrepresentation.  It  must  be  allowed  that  the  New  Testament 
record  not  only  makes  Christ  assert  everlasting  punishment,  but 
Paul  and  John.  But  the  question  should  be  looked  at  from  a  larger 
platform  than  single  texts — in  the  light  of  God's  attributes,  and 
the  nature  of  the  soul.  The  destination  of  man,  and  the  Creator's 
infinite  goodness,  conflicting  as  they  do  with  everlasting  punish- 
ment, remove  it  from  the  sphere  of  rational  belief.     If  provision  be 

13 


194  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

not  made  in  revelation  for  a  change  of  moral  character  after  death, 
it  is  made  in  reason.  Philosophical  considerations  must  not  be 
set  aside  even  by  Scripture."  (Last  Things,  pp.  133,  136,  151.) 

So  long,  then,  as  the  controversy  is  carried  on  by  an  appeal  to 
the  Bible,  the  defender  of  endless  retribution  has  comparatively  an 
easy  task.  But  when  the  appeal  is  made  to  human  feeling  and 
sentiment,  or  to  ratiocination,  the  demonstration  requires  more 
effort.  And  yet  the  doctrine  is  not  only  Biblical  but  rational.  It 
is  defensible  on  the  basis  of  sound  ethics  and  pure  reason.  No- 
thing is  requisite  for  its  maintenance  but  the  admission  of  three 
cardinal  truths  of  theism,  namely,  that  there  is  a  just  God  ;  that 
man  has  free  will  ;  and  that  sin  is  voluntary  action.  If  these  are 
denied,  there  can  be  no  defence  of  endless  punishment — or  of  any 
other  doctrine,  except  atheism  and  its  corollaries. 

The  Bible  and  all  the  creeds  of  Christendom  affirm  man's  free 
agency  in  sinning  against  God.  The  transgression  which  is  to 
receive  the  endless  punishment  is  voluntary.-  Sin  ,whether  it  be 
inward  inclination  or  outward  act,  is  unforced  human  agency. 
This  is  the  uniform  premise  of  Christian  theologians  of  all  schools. 
Endless  punishment  supposes  the  liberty  of  the  human  will,  and  is 
impossible  without  it.  Could  a  man  prove  that  he  is  necessitated 
in  his  murderous  hate  and  his  murderous  act,  he  would  prove,  in 
this  very  proof,  that  he  ought  not  to  be  punished  for  it,  either  in 
time  or  eternity.  Could  Satan  really  convince  himself  that  his 
moral  character  is  not  his  own  work,  but  that  of  God,  or  of  nature, 
his  remorse  would  cease,  and  his  punishment  would  end.  Self- 
determination  runs  parallel  with  hell. 

Guik,  then,  is  what  is  punished,  and  not  misfortune.  Free  and 
not  forced  agency  is  what  teels  the  stroke  of  justice.  What,  now, 
is  this  stroke  ?  Everything  depends  upon  the  right  answer  to  this 
question.  The  fallacies  and  errors  of  Universalism  find  their  nest 
and  hiding  place  at  this  point.  The  true  definition  of  punishment 
detects  and  excludes  them, 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  195 

Punishment  is  neither  chastisement  nor  calamity.  Men  suffer 
calamity,  says  Christ,  not  because  they  or  their  parents  have  sinned, 
"but  that  the  works  of  God  should  be  made  manifest  in  them." 
John  ix.  3.  Chastisement  is  inflicted  in  order  to  develop  a  good 
but  imperfect  character  already  formed.  "  The  Lord  loveth  whom 
he  chasteneth,"  and  "  what  son  is  he  whom  the  earthly  father  chas- 
teneth  not?"  Hebrews  xii.  6,  7.  Punishment,  on  the  other  hand, 
is  retribution,  and  is  not  intended  to  do  the  work  of  either  calamity 
or  chastisement,  but  a  work  of  its  own.  And  this  work  is  to  vin- 
dicate law,  to  satisfy  justice.  Punishment,  therefore,  is  wholly 
retrospective  in  its  primary  aim.  It  looks  back  at  what  has  been 
done  in  the  past.  Its  first  and  great  object  is  requital.  A  man  is 
hung  for  murder,  principally  and  before  all  other  reasons  because 
he  has  voluntarily  transgressed  the  law  forbidding  murder.  He  is 
not  hung  from  a  prospective  aim,  such  as  his  own  moral  improve- 
ment, or  for  the  purpose  of  deterring  others  from  committing  mur- 
der. The  remark  of  the  English  judge  to  the  horse-thief,  in  the 
days  when  such  theft  was  capitally  punished,  "  You  are  not  hung 
because  you  have  stolen  a  horse,  but  that  horses  may  not  be  stolen," 
has  never  been  regarded  as  eminently  judicial.  It  is  true  that 
personal  improvement  may  be  one  consequence  of  the  infliction  of 
penalty.  But  the  consequence  must  not  be  confounded  with  the 
purpose.  Cum  hoc  NON  ergo  propter  hoc.  The  criminal  may 
come  to  see  and  confess  that  his  crime  deserves  its  punishment,  and 
in  genuine  unselfish  penitence  may  take  sides  with  the  law,  ap- 
prove its  retribution,  and  go  into  the  presence  of  the  Final  Judge, 
relying  upon  that  great  atonement  which  satisfies  eternal  justice 
for  sin  ;  but  even  this,  the  greatest  personal  benefit  of  all,  is  not 
what  is  aimed  at  in  man's  punishment  of  the  crime  of  murder.  For 
should  there  be  no  such  personal  benefit  as  this  attending  the  in- 
fliction of  the  human  penalty,  the  one  sufficient  reason  for  inflicting 
it  still  holds  good,  namely,  the  fact  that  the  law  has  been  violated, 
and  demands  the  death  of  the  offender  for  this  reason   simply   and 


IpS  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

only.  "  The  notion  of  ill-desert  and  punishableness,"  says  Kant 
(Praktische  Vernunft,  151.  Ed.  Rosenkranz),  "  is  necessarily  inii)lied 
in  the  idea  of  voluntary  transgression  ;  and  the  idea  of  punishment 
excludes  that  of  happiness  in  all  its  forms.  For  though  he  who 
inflicts  punishment  may,  it  is  true,  also  have  a  benevolent  purpose, 
to  produce  by  the  punishment  some  good  effect  upon  the  criminal, 
yet  the  punishment  must  be  justified,  first  of  all,  as  pure  and  simple 
requital  and  retribution  :  that  is,  as  a  kind  of  suffering  that  is  de- 
manded by  the  law  without  any  reference  to  its  prospective  bene- 
ficial consequences  ;  so  that  even  if  no  moral  improvement  and  no 
personal  advantage  should  subsequently  accrue  to  the  criminal,  he 
must  acknowledge  that  justice  has  been  done  to  him,  and  his  ex- 
perience is  exact!}/  conformed  to  his  conduct.  In  every  instance 
of  punishment,  properly  so  called,  justice  is  the  very  first  thing,  and 
constitutes  the  essence  of  it.  A  benevolent  purpose  and  a  happy 
effect,  it  is  true,  may  be  conjoined  with  punishment  ;  but  the  crim- 
inal cannot  claim  this  as  his  due,  and  he  has  no  right  to  reckon 
upon  it.  All  that  he  deserves  is  punishment,  and  this  is  all  that  he 
can  expect  from  the  law  which  he  has  transgressed."  These  are 
the  words  of  as  penetrating  and  ethical  a  thinker  as  ever  lived. 

Neither  is  it  true,  that  the  first  and  principal  aim  of  punishment 
is  the  protection  of  society  and  the  public  good.  This,  like  the 
personal  benefit  in  the  preceding  case,  is  only  secondary  and  inci- 
dental. The  public  good  is  not  a  sufficient  reason  for  putting  a 
man  to  death  ;  but  the  satisfaction  of  law  is.  This  view  of  penalty 
is  most  disastrous  in  its  influence,  as  well  as  false  in  its  ethics.  For 
if  the  good  of  the  public  is  the  true  reason  and  object  of  punish- 
ment, the  amount  of  it  may  be  fixed  by  the  end  in  view.  The 
criminal  may  be  made  to  suffer  more  than  his  crime  deserves,  if 
the  public  welfare,  in  suppressing  this  particular  kind  of  crime,  re- 
quires it.  His  personal  desert  and  responsibility  not  being  the  one 
sufficient  reason  for  his  suffering,  he  may  be  made  to  suffer  as  much 
a"^  the  public  safety  requires.     It  was  this  theory  of  penalty  th::t 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  197 

led  to  the  multiplication  of  capital  offenses.  The  prevention  of 
forgery,  it  was  once  claimed  in  England,  required  that  the  forger 
should  forfeit  his  life,  and  upon  the  principle  that  punishment  is 
for  the  public  protection,  and  not  for  strict  and  exact  justice,  an 
offence  against  human  property  was  expiated  by  human  life.  Con- 
trary to  the  Noachic  statute,  which  punishes  only  murder  with 
death,  this  statute  weighed  out  man's  life-blood  against  pounds, 
shillings,  and  pence.  On  this  theory,  the  number  of  capital  offenses 
became  very  numerous  and  the  cri.iiinal  code  very  bloody.  So 
that,  in  the.  long  run,  nothing  is  kinder  than  exact  justice.  It  pre- 
vents extremes  in  either  direction — either  that  of  indulgence  or 
that  of  cruelty. 

This  theory  breaks  down,  from  whatever  point  it  be  looked  at. 
Suppose  that  there  were  but  one  person  in  the  universe.  If  he 
should  transgress  the  law  of  God,  then,  upon  the  principle  of  expe- 
diency as  the  ground  of  penalty,  this  solitary  subject  of  moral  gov- 
ernment could  not  be  punished — that  is,  visited  with  a  suffering 
that  is  purely  retributive,  and  not  exemplary  or  corrective.  His 
act  has  not  injured  the  public,  for  there  is  no  public.  There  is  no 
need  of  his  suffering  as  an  example  to  deter  others,  for  there  are  no 
others.  But  upon  the  principle  of  justice,  in  distinction  from  ex- 
pediency, this  solitary  subject  of  moral  government  could  be  pun- 
ished. 

The  vicious  ethics  of  this  theory  of  penalty  expresses  itself  in 
the  demoralizing  maxim,  "It  is  better  that  ten  guilty  men  should 
escape  than  that  one  innocent  man  should  suffer."  But  this  is  no 
more  true  than  the  converse,  "  It  is  better  that  ten  innocent  men 
should  suffer  than  that  one  guilty  man  should  escape."  It  is  a 
choice  of  equal  evil  and  equal  injustice.  In  either  case  alike,  jus- 
tice is  trampled  down.  In  the  first  supposed  case,  there  are  eleven 
instances  of  injustice  and  wrong ;  and  in  the  last  supposed  case, 
there  are  likewise  eleven  instances  of  injustice  and  wrong.  Un- 
punished guilt  is  precisely  the  same  species  of  evil  with  punished 


198  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

innocence.  To  say,  therefore,  that  it  is  better  that  ten  guilty  per- 
sons should  escape  than  that  one  innocent  man  should  suffer,  is  to 
say  that  it  is  better  that  there  should  be  ten  wrongs  than  one 
wrong  against  justice. 

The  theory  that  punishment  is  retributive,  honors  human  nature, 
but  the  theory  that  it  is  merely  expedient  and  useful  degrades  it. 
If  justice  be  the  true  ground  of  penalty,  man  is  treated  as  a  per- 
son ;  but  if  the  public  good  is  the  ground,  he  is  treated  as  a  chattel 
or  a  thing.  When  suffering  is  judicially  inflicted  because  of  the 
intrinsic  gravity  and  real  demerit  of  crime,  man's  free  will  and  re- 
sponsibility are  recognized  and  put  in  the  foreground  ;  and  these 
are  his  highest  and  distinguishing  attributes.  The  sufficient  reason 
for  his  suffering  is  found  wholly  within  his  own  person,  in  the  ex- 
ercise of  self-determination.  He  is  not  seized  by  the  magistrate 
and  made  to  suffer  for  a  reason  extraneous  to  his  own  agency,  and 
for  the  sake  of  something  lying  wholly  outside  of  himself — namely, 
the  safety  and  happiness  of  others — but  because  of  his  own  act. 
He  is  not  handled  like  a  brute  or  an  inanimate  thing  that  ma\'  be 
put  to  good  use  ;  but  he  is  recognized  as  a  free  and  voluntary  per- 
son, who  is  punished  not  because  punishment  is  expedient  and 
useful,  but  because  it  is  just  and  right  ;  not  because  the  public 
safety  requires  it,  but  because  he  owes  it.  The  dignity  of  the  man 
himself,  founded  in  his  lofty  but  hazardous  endowment  of  free  will, 
is  acknowledged. 

Supposing  it,  now,  to  be  conceded,  that  future  punishment  is 
retributive  in  its  essential  nature,  it  follows  that  it  must  be  endless 
from  the  nature  of  the  case.  For  suffering  must  continue  as  long 
as  the  reason  for  it  continues.  In  this  respect,  it  is  like  law,  which 
lasts  as  long  as  its  reason  lasts  :  RATI  ONE  CESSANTE,  CESSAT  IPSA 
LEX.  Suffering  that  is  educational  and  corrective  may  come  to  an 
end,  because  moral  infirmity,  and  not  guilt,  is  the  reason  for  its 
infliction  ;  and  moral  infirmity  may  cease  to  exist.  But  suffering 
that  is  penal  can  never  come  to  an  end,  because  guilt  is  the  reason 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS    PUNISHMENT.  199 

for  its  in/liction,  and  guilt  once  incurred  never  ceases  to  be.  The 
lapse  of  time  does  not  convert  guilt  into  innocence,  as  it  converts 
moral  infirmity  into  moral  strength  ;  and  therefore  no  time  can 
ever  arrive  when  the  guilt  of  the  criminal  will  cease  to  deserve  and 
demand  its  retribution.  The  reason  for  retribution  to-day  is  a 
reason  forever.  Hence,  when  God  disciplines  and  educates  his 
children,  he  causes  only  a  temporary  suffering.  In  this  case,  "  He 
will  not  keep  his  anger  forever."  Ps.  ciii.  9.  But  when,  as  the  Su- 
prenr.e  Judge,  he  punishes  rebellious  and  guilty  subjects  of  his  gov- 
ernment, he  causes  an  endless  suffering.  In  this  case,  "  their  worm 
dieth  not,  and  the  fire  is  not  quenched."     Mark  ix.  48. 

The  real  question  therefore,  is,  whether  God  ever  punishes. 
That  he  chastises,  is  not  disputed.  But  does  he  ever  inflict  a  suf- 
fering that  is  not  intended  to  reform  the  transgressor,  and  does  not 
reform  him,  but  is  intended  simply  and  only  to  vindicate  law,  and 
satisfy  justice,  by  requiting  him  for  his  transgression  ?  Revelation 
teaches  that  he  does.  "Vengeance  is  mine  ;  I  will  repay,  saith  the 
Lord."  Rom.  xii.  19.  Retribution  is  here  asserted  to  be  a  func- 
tion of  the  Supreme  Being,  and  his  alone.  The  creature  has  no 
right  to  punish,  except  as  he  is  authorized  by  the  Infinite  Ruler. 
"  The  powers  that  be  are  ordained  of  God.  The  ruler  is  the  min- 
ister of  God,  an  avenger  to  execute  wrath  upon  him  that  doeth 
evil."  Rom.  xiii.  i,  4.  The  power  which  civil  government  has  to 
punish  crime — the  private  person  having  no  such  power — is  only  a 
delegated  right  from  the  Source  of  retribution.  Natural  religion, 
as  well  as  revealed,  teaches  that  God  inflicts  upon  the  voluntary 
transgressor  of  law  a  suffering  that  is  purely  vindicative  of  law. 
The  pagan  sages  enunciate  the  doctrine,  and  it  is  mortised  into  the 
moral  constitution  of  man,  as  is  proved  by  his  universal  fear  of 
retribution.  The  objection,  that  a  suffering  not  intended  to  reform 
but  to  satisfy  justice,  is  cruel  and  unworthy  of  God,  is  refuted  by 
the  question  of  St.  Paul :  "  Is  God  unrighteous  who  taleth  ven- 
geance ?     God  forbid  :  for  how  then  shall  God  judge   the  world  i" 


200  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Rom.  iii.  5,  6.  It  is  impossible  cither  to  found  or  administer  a  gov- 
ernment, in  heaven  or  upon  earth,  unless  the  power  to  punish  crime 
is  conceded. 

The  endlessness  of  future  punLshmcnt,  then,  is  implied  in  the 
endlessness  of  guilt  and  condemnation.  When  a  crime  is  condemn- 
ed, it  is  absurd  to  ask,  "  How  long  is  it  condemned  ?"  The  verdict 
"Guilty  for  ten  days"  was  Hibernian.  Damnation  means  absolute 
and  everlasting  damnation.  All  suffering  in  the  next  life,  there- 
fore, of  which  the  sufficient  and  justifying  reason  is  guilt,  must  con- 
tinue as  long  as  the  reason  continues  ;  and  the  reason  is  everlasting;. 
If  it  be  righteous  to-day,  in  God's  retributive  justice,  to  smite  the 
transgressor  because  he  violated  the  law  yesterday,  it  is  righteou> 
to  do  the  same  thing  to-morrow,  and  the  next  day,  and  so  on  AD 
INFINITUM;  because  the  state  of  the  case  AD  INFINITUM  re- 
mains unaltered.  The  guilt  incurred  yesterday  is  a  standing  and 
endless  fact.  What,  therefore,  guilt  legitimates  this  instant,  it  le- 
gitimates every  instant,  and  forever. 

It  may  be  objected  that,  though  the  guilt  and  damnation  of  a 
crime  be  endless,  it  does  not  follow  that  the  suffering  inflicted  on 
account  of  it  must  be  endless  also,  even  though  it  be  retributive 
and  not  reformatory  in  its  intent.  A  human  judge  pronounces  a 
theft  to  be  endlessly  a  theft,  and  a  thief  to  be  endlessly  a  thief,  but 
he  does  not  sentence  the  thief  to  an  endless  suffering,  though  he 
sentences  him  to  a  penal  suffering.  But  this  objection  overlooks 
the  fact  that  human  punishment  is  only  approximate  and  imper- 
fect, not  absolute  and  perfect  like  the  Divine.  It  is  not  adjusted 
exactly  and  precisely  to  the  whole  guilt  of  the  offense,  but  is  more 
or  less  modified,  first,  by  not  considering  its  relation  to  God's  honor 
and  majesty  ;  secondly,  by  human  ignorance  of  the  inward  motives; 
and,  thirdly,  by  social  expediency.  Earthly  courts  and  judges  look 
at  the  transgression  of  law  with  reference  only  to  man's  temporal 
relations,  not  his  eternal.  They  punish  an  offense  as  a  crime 
against  the  State,  not  as  a  sin  against  God.     Neither  do  they  look 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  201 

into  the  human  heart,  and  estimate  crime  in  its  absolute  and  intrin- 
sic nature,  as  does  the  Searcher  of  Hearts  and  the  Omniscient 
Judge. 

A  human  tribunal  punishes  mayhem,  we  will  say,  with  six 
months'  imprisonment,  because  it  does  not  take  into  consideration 
either  the  malicious  and  wicked  anger  that  prompted  the  maiming, 
or  the  dishonor  done  to  the  Supreme  Being  by  the  transgression  of 
his  commandment.  But  Christ,  in  the  final  assize,  punishes  this 
offense  endlessly,  because  his  All-seeing  view  includes  the  sum-total 
of  guilt  in  the  case  ;  namely,  the  inward  wrath,  the  outward  act, 
and  the  relation  of  both  to  the  infinite  perfection  and  adorable 
majesty  of  God.  The  human  tribunal  does  not  punish  the  inward 
anger  at  all  ;  the  Divine  tribunal  punishes  it  with  hell  fire  :  "  For 
whosoever  shall  say  to  his  brother.  Thou  fool,  is  in  danger  of  hell 
fire."  Matt.  v.  22.  The  human  tribunal  punishes  seduction  with  a 
pecuniary  fine,  because  it  does  not  take  cognizance  of  the  selfish 
and  heartless  lust  that  prompted  it,  or  of  the  affront  offered  to  that 
Immaculate  Holiness  which  from  Sinai  proclaimed.  "Thou  shalt 
not  commit  adultery."  But  the  Divine  tribunal  punishes  seduction 
with  an  infinite  suffering,  because  of  its  more  comprehensive  and 
truthful  view  of  the  whole  transaction. 

Again,  human  punishment,  unlike  the  Divine,  is  variable  and 
inexact,  because  it  is  to  a  considerable  extent  reformatory  and  pro- 
tective. Human  government  is  not  intended  tu  do  the  work  of 
the  Supreme  Ruler.  The  sentence  of  an  earthly  judge  is  not  a 
substitute  for  that  of  the  last  day.  Consequently,  human  punish- 
ment need  not  be  marked,  even  if  this  were  possible,  with  all  that 
absoluteness  and  exactness  of  justice  which  characterizes  the  Di- 
vine. Justice  in  the  human  sphere  maybe  relaxed  by  expediency. 
The  retributive  element  must,  indeed,  enter  into  human  punish- 
ment ;  for  no  man  may  be  punished  by  a  human  tribunal  unless 
he  deserves  punishment — unless  he  is  a  criminal.  But  retribution 
is  not  the  sole  element  when  man  punishes.     Man,  while  not  over- 


d^^ 


202  FUTURE    PUNISU.ME:.  l, 

looking^  the  guilt  in  the  case,  has  some  reference  to  the  reformation 
of  the  offender,  and  still  more  to  the  protection  of  society.  Civil 
expediency  and  social  utility  modify  exact  and  strict  retribution. 
For  the  sake  of  reforming  the  criminal,  the  judge  sometimes  inflicts 
a  penalty  that  is  less  than  the  real  guilt  of  the  offense.  For  the 
sake  of  protecting  society,  the  court  sometimes  sentences  the  crim- 
inal to  a  suffering  greater  than  his  crime  deserves.  Human  tribu- 
nals, also,  vary  the  punishment  for  the  same  offense — sometimes 
punishing  forgery  capitally,  and  sometimes  not ;  sometimes  sen- 
tencing those  guilty  of  the  same  kind  of  theft  to  one  year's  impris- 
onment, and  sometimes  to  two. 

But  the  Divine  tribunal,  in  the  last  great  day,  is  invariably  and 
exactly  just,  because  it  is  neither  reformatory  nor  protective.  Hell 
is  not  a  penitentiary.  It  is  righteous  retribution,  pure  and  simple, 
unmodified  by  considerations  either  of  utility  to  the  criminal,  or  of 
safety  to  the  universe.  Christ,  in  the  day  of  final  account,  will  not 
punish  wicked  men  and  devils  (for  the  two  receive  the  same  sen- 
tence, and  go  to  the  same  place,  Matt.  xxv.  41),  either  for  the  sake 
of  reforming  them,  or  of  protecting  the  righteous  from  the  wicked. 
His  punishment  at  that  time  will  be  nothing  but  retribution.  The 
redeemer  of  men  is  also  the  Eternal  Judge  ;  the  Lamb  of  God  is 
also  the  Lion  of  the  tribe  of  Judah  ;  and  his  righteous  word  to 
wicked  and  hardened  Satan,  to  wicked  and  hardened  Judas,  to 
wicked  and  hardened  Pope  Alexander  VI.,  will  be  :  "  Vengeance  is 
mine  ;  I  will  repay.  Depart  from  me,  ye  cursed,  that  work  ini- 
quity." Rom.  xii.  19  ;  Matt.  xxv.  41  ;  vii.  23.  The  wicked  will 
reap  according  as  they  have  sown.  The  suffering  will  be  unerring- 
ly adjusted  to  the  intrinsic  guilt :  no  greater  and  no  less  than  the 
sin  deserves.  "  That  servant  which  knew  his  lord's  will  (clearly), 
and  did  not  according  to  his  will,  shall  be  beaten  with  many  stripes  ; 
but  he  that  knew  not  (clearly),  and  did  commit  things  worthy  of 
stripes,  shall  be  beaten  with  few  stripes.  As  many  as  have  sinned 
without  (written)  law,  shall  also  perish  without  (written)  law  ;    and 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  203 

as  many  as  have  sinned  under  (written)  law,  shall  be  judged  by 
the  (written)  law."     Luke  xii.  47,  48  ;  Rom.  ii.  12. 

It  is  because  the  human  court,  by  reason  of  its  ignorance  both 
of  the  human  heart  and  the  true  nature  of  sin  against  a  spiritual 
law  and  a  holy  God,  cannot  do  the  perfect  work  of  the  Divine  trib- 
unal, that  human  laws  and  penalties  are  only  provisional,  and  not 
final.  Earthly  magistrates  are  permitted  to  modify  and  relax  pen- 
alty, and  pass  a  sentence  which,  though  adapted  to  man's  earthly 
circumstances,  is  not  absolute  and  perfect,  and  is  finally  to  be  re- 
vised and  made  right  by  the  omniscient  accuracy  ot  God.  The 
human  penalty  that  approaches  nearest  to  the  Divine  is  capital 
punishment.  There  is  more  of  the  purely  retributive  element  in 
this  than  in  any  other.  The  reformatory  element  is  wanting.  And 
this  punishment  has  a  kind  of  endlessness.  Death  is  a  finality.  It 
forever  separates  the  murderer  from  earthly  society,  even  as  future 
punishment  separates  forever  from  the  society  of  God  and  heaven. 

The  argument  thus  far  goes  to  prove  that  retribution  in  distinc- 
tion from  correction,  or  punishment  in  distinction  from  chastise- 
ment, is  endless  from  the  nature  of  the  case.  We  pass,  now,  to 
prove  that  it  is  also  rational  and  right. 

I.  Endless  punishment  is  rational,  in  the  first  place,  because  it 
is  supported  by  the  human  conscience.  The  sinner's  own  conscience 
will  "  bear  witness  "  and  approve  of  the  condemning  sentence,  "  in 
the  day  when  God  shall  judge  the  secrets  of  men  by  Jesus  Christ." 
Rom.  ii.  16.  Dives,  in  the  parable,  when  reminded  of  the  justice  of 
his  suffering,  is  silent.  Accordingly,  all  the  evangelical  creeds  say 
with  the  Westminster  (Larger  Catechism,  89)  that  "the  wicked, 
upon  clear  evidence  and  full  conviction  of  their  own  consciences, 
shall  have  the  just  sentence  of  condemnation  pronounced  against 
them."  If  in  the  great  day  there  are  any  innocent  men  who  have 
no  accusing  consciences,  they  will  escape  hell.  We  may  accommo- 
date St.  Paul's  words,  Rom.  xiii.  3,4, and  say  :  -'The  final  judgment 
is  not  a  terror  to  good  works  but  to  evil.     Wilt  thou,  then,  not  be 


204  FUTURE    I'UNISHMENT. 

afraid  of  the  final  judgment  ?  Keep  the  law  of  God  perfectly,  with- 
out a  single  slip  or  failure,  inwardly  or  outwardly,  and  thou  shalt 
have  praise  of  the  same.  But  if  thou  do  that  which  is  evil,  be 
afraid."  But  a  sentence  that  is  justified  by  the  highest  and  best 
part  of  the  human  constitution  must  be  founded  in  reason,  justice, 
and  truth.  It  is  absurd  to  object  to  a  judicial  decision  that  is  con- 
firmed by  the  man's  own  immediate  consciousness  of  its  righteous- 
ness. And,  as  matter  of  fact,  the  opponent  of  endless  retribution 
does  not  draw  his  arguments  from  the  impartial  conscience,  but 
from  the  bias  of  self-lo\^e  and  desire  for  happiness.  His  objections 
are  not  ethical,  but  sentimental.  They  are  not  seen  in  the  dry 
light  of  pure  truth  and  reason,  but  through  the  colored  medium  of 
-elf-indulgence  and  love  of  ease  and  sin. 

Again  :  a  guilty  conscious  expects  endless  punishment.  There 
is  in  it  what  the  Scripture  denominates  "  the  fearful  looking-for  of 
judgment,  and  fiery  indignation,  which  shall  devour  the  adversaries  " 
of  God.  Hebrew  x.  27.  This  is  the  awful  apprehension  of  an  evil 
that  is  to  last  forever ;  otherwise,  it  would  not  be  so  "  fearful." 
The  knowledge  that  future  suffering  will  one  day  cease  would  im- 
mediately relieve  the  awful  apprehension  of  the  sinner.  A  guilty 
conscience  is  in  its  very  nature  hopeless.  Impenitent  men,  in  their 
remorse,  "sorrow  as  those  who  have  no  hope,"  1st  Thess.  iv.  13  ; 
"having  no  hope,  and  without  God  in  the  world."  Eph.  ii.  12.  "  The 
hope  of  the  wicked  shall  be  as  the  giving  up  of  the  ghost."  Job  xi. 
20.  "The  hypocrite's  hope  shall  perish."  Job  viii.  13.  Conse- 
quently, the  great  and  distinguishing  element  in  hell-torment  is 
despair,  a  feeling  that  is  simply  impossible  in  any  man  or  fallen 
angel  who  knows  that  he  is  finally  to  be  happy  forever.  Despair 
results  from  the  endlessness  of  retribution.  No  endlessness,  no 
despair.  Natural  religion,  as  well  as  revealed,  teaches  the  despair 
of  some  men  in  the  future  life.  Plato  (Gorgias  525),  Pindar 
(Olympia  II.),  Plutarch  (De  sera  vindicta),  describe  the  punishment 
of  the  incorrigibly  wicked  as  eternal  and  hopeless. 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS    PUNISHMENT.  205 

In  Scripture,  there  is  no  such  thing  as  eternal  hope.  Hope  is 
a  characteristic  of  earth  and  time  only.  Here  in  this  life,  all  men 
may  hope  for  forgiveness.  /  Turn,  ye  prisoners  of  hope."  Zech. 
ix.  2.  "  Now  is  the  accepted  time  ;  now  is  the  day  of  salvation." 
2  Cor.  vi.  2.  But  in  the  next  world  there  is  no  hope  of  any  kind, 
because  there  is  either  fruition  or  despair.  The  Christian's  hope  is 
converted  into  its  realization  :  "  For  what  a  man  seeth,  why  doth 
he  yet  hope  for  it?"  Rom.  viii.  24.  And  the  impenitent  sinner's 
hope  of  heaven  is  converted  into  despair.  Canon  Farrar's  phrase 
"  eternal  hope  "  is  derived  from  Pandora's  box,  not  from  the  Bible. 
Dante's  legend  over  the  portal  of  hell  is  the  truth :  •'  All  hope 
abandon,  ye  who  enter  here." 

That  conscience  supports  endless  retribution,  is  also  evinced  by 
the  universality  and  steadiness  of  the  dread  of  it.  Mankind  believe 
in  hell,  as  they  believe  in  the  Divine  Existence,  by  reason  of  their 
moral  sense.  Notwithstanding  all  the  attack  made  upon  the  tenet 
in  every  generation,  by  a  fraction  of  every  generation,  men  do  not 
get  fid  of  their  fear  of  future  punishment.  Skeptics  themselves  are 
sometimes  distressed  by  it.  But  a  permanent  and  general  fear 
among  mankind  cannot  be  produced  by  a  mere  chimera,  or  a  pure 
figment  of  the  imagination.  Men  have  no  fear  of  Rhadamanthus, 
nor  can  they  be  made  to  fear  him,  because  they  know  that  there  is 
no  such  being.  "  An  idol  is  nothing  in  the  world."  i  Cor.  viii.  4. 
But  men  have  "the  fearful  looking-for  of  judgment"  from  the  lips 
of  God,  ever  and  always.  If  the  Biblical  hell  were  as  much  a  non- 
entity as  the  heathen  Atlantis,  no  one  would  waste  his  time  in 
endeavoring  to  prove  its  non-existence.  What  man  would  seriously 
construct  an  argument  to  demonstrate  that  there  is  no  such  being 
as  Jupiter  Ammon,  or  such  an  animal  as  the  centaur  ?  The  very 
denial  of  endless  retribution  evinces  by  its  spasmodic  eagerness  and 
effort  to  disprove  the  tenet,  the  firmness  with  which  it  is  entrenched 
in  man's  moral  constitution.  If  there  really  were  no  hell,  absolute 
indifference   toward   the   notion   would   long  since   have  been  the 


206  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

mood  of  all   mankind,  and   no  arguments,  cither   for  or  against   it, 
would  be  constructed. 

And  finally,  the  demand,  even  here  upon  earth,  for  the  punish- 
ment of  the  intensely  and  incorrigibly  wicked  proves  that  retribu- 
tion is  grounded  in  the  human  conscience  When  abominable  and 
Satanic  sin  is  temporarily  triumphant,  as  it  sometimes  has  been  in 
the  history  of  the  world,  men  cry  out  to  God  for  his  vengeance  to 
come  down.  "  If  there  were  no  God,  we  should  be  compelled  to 
invent  one,"  is  now  a  familiar  sentiment.  "  If  there  were  no  hell, 
we  should  be  compelled  to  invent  one,"  is  equally  true.  When  ex- 
amples of  great  depravity  occur,  man  cries  :  "  How  long,  O  Lord, 
how  long?"  The  non-infliction  of  retribution  upon  hardened 
villainy  and  successful  cruelty  causes  anguish  in  the  moral  sense. 
For  the  expression  of  it,  read  the  imprecatory  psalms  and  Milton's 
sonnet  on  the  massacre  in  Piedmont. 

2.  In  the  second  place,  endless  punishment  is  rational,  because 
of  the  endlessness  of  sin.  I i  the  preceding  view  of  the  relation  of 
penalty  to  guilt  be  correct,  endless  punishment  is  just,  without 
bringing  the  sin  of  the  future  world  into  the  account.  Man  incurs 
everlasting  punishment  for  "  the  things  done  in  his  body."  Cor. 
v.  lO.  Christ  sentences  men  to  perdition,  not  for  what  they  are 
going  to  do  in  eternity,  but  lor  what  they  have  already  done  in 
time.  It  is  not  necessary  that  a  man  should  commit  all  kinds  of 
sin,  or  that  he  should  sin  a  very  long  time,  in  order  to  be  a  sinner. 
"  Whosoever  shall  keep  the  whole  law,  and  yet  offend  in  one  point, 
he  is  guilty  of  all."  James  ii.  lo.  One  sin  makes  guilt,  and  guilt 
makes  hell. 

But  while  this  is  so,  it  is  a  fact  to  be  observed,  that  sin  is  actually 
being  added  to  sin,  in  the  future  life,  and  the  amount  of  guilt  is 
accumulating.  The  lost  spirit  is  "  treasuring  up  wrath."  Rom.  ii.  5. 
Hence,  there  are  degrees  in  the  intensity  of  endless  suffering.  The 
difference  in  the  grade  arises  from  the  greater  resoluteness  of  the 
wicked  self-determination,  and  the  greater  degree  of  light  that  was 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  207 

enjoyed  upon  earth.  He  who  sins  against  the  moral  law  as  it  is 
drawn  out  in  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  sins  more  determinedly  and 
desperately  than  the  pagan  who  sins  against  the  light  of  nature. 
There  are  probably  no  men  in  paganism  who  sin  so  wilfully  and 
devilishly  as  some  men  in  Christendom.  Profanity,  or  the  blas- 
pheming of  God,  is  a  Christian  and  not  a  Heathen  characteristic. 
There  are  degrees  in  future  suffering,  because  it  is  infinite  in  dura- 
tion only.  In  intensity,  it  is  finite.  Consequently,  the  lost  do  not 
all  suffer  precisely  alike,  though  all  suffer  the  same  length  of  time. 
A  thing  may  be  infinite  in  onfe  respect  and  finite  in  others.  A  line 
may  be  infinite  in  Length,  and  not  in  breadth  and  depth.  A  surface 
may  be  infinite  in  length  and  breadth,  and  not  in  depth.  And  two 
persons  may  suffer  infinitely  in  the  sense  of  endlessly,  and  yet  one 
experience  more  pain  than  the  other. 

The  endlessness  of  sin  results,  first,  from  the  nature  and  energy 
of  sinful  self-determination.  Sin  is  the  creature's  act  solely.  God 
does  not  work  in  the  human  will  when  it  wills  antagonistically  to 
him.  Consequently,  self-determination  to  evil  is  an  extremely  ve- 
hement activity  of  the  will.  There  is  no  will  so  wilful  as  a  wicked 
will.  Sin  is  stubborn  and  obstinate  in  its  nature,  because  it  is 
enmity  and  rebellion.  Hence,  wicked  will  intensifies  itself  perpet- 
ually. Pride,  left  to  itself,  increases  and  never  diminishes.  Enmity 
and  hatred  become  more  and  more  satanic.  "  Sin,"  says  South,  "is 
the  only  perpetual  motion  which  has  yet  been  found  out,  and  needs 
nothing  but  a  beginning  to  keep  it  incessantly  going  on."  Upon 
this  important  point,  Aristotle,  in  the  seventh  book  of  his  Ethics, 
reasons  with  great  truth  and  impressiveness.  He  distinguishes  be- 
tween strong  will  to  wickedness  and  weak  self-indulgence.  The 
former  is  viciousness  from  deliberation  and  preference,  and  implies 
an  intense  determination  to  evil  in  the  man.  He  goes  wrong,  not 
so  much  from  the  pull  of  appetite  and  passion,  as  purposely,  know- 
ingly, and  energetically.  He  has  great  strength  of  will,  and  he 
puts  it  all  forth  in  resolute  wickedness.     The  latter  quality  is  more 


20S  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

the  absence  than  the  presence  of  will  ;  it  is  the  weakness  and  irre- 
solution of  a  man  who  has  no  powerful  self-determination  of  any- 
kind.  The  condition  of  the  former  of  these  two  men,  Aristotle 
regarded  as  worse  than  that  of  the  latter.  He  considered  it  to 
be  desperate  and  hopeless.  The  evil  is  incurable.  Repentance 
and  reformation  are  impossible  to  this  man  ;  for  the  wickedness 
in  this  instance  is  not  mere  appetite  ;  it  is  a  principle  ;  it  is  cold- 
blooded and  total  depravity. 

Another  reason  for  the  endlessness  of  sin  is  the  bondage  of  the 
sinful  will.  In  the  very  act  of  transgressing  the  law  of  God,  there 
is  a  reflex  action  of  the  human  will  upon  itself,  whereby  it  becomes 
unable  to  perfectly  keep  that  law.  Sin  is  the  suicidal  action  of  the 
human  will.  A  man  is  not  forced  to  kill  himself,  but  if  he  does,  he 
cannot  bring  himself  to  life  again.  And  a  man  is  not  forced  to  sin, 
but  if  he  does,  he  cannot  of  himself  get  back  where  he  was  before 
sinning.  He  cannot  get  back  to  innocency,  nor  can  he  get  back 
to  holiness  of  heart.  The  effect  of  vicious  habit  in  diminishing  a 
man's  ability  to  resist  temptation  is  proverbial.  An  old  and  hard- 
ened debauchee,  like  Tiberius  or  Louis  XV.,  just  going  into  the 
presence  of  Infinite  Purity,  has  not  so  much  power  of  active  resist- 
ance against  the  sin  that  has  now  ruined  him,  as  the  youth  has 
who  is  just  beginning  to  run  that  awful  career.  The  truth  and 
fact  is,  that  sin,  in  and  by  its  own  nature  and  operation,  tends  to 
destroy  all  virtuous  force,  all  holy  energy,  in  any  moral  being.  The 
excess  of  will  to  sin  is  the  same  thing  as  defect  of  will  to  holiness. 
The  human  will  cannot  be  forced  and  ruined  from  without.  But 
if  we  watch  the  influence  of  the  will  upon  itself;  the  influence  of 
its  own  wrong  decisions,  and  its  own  yielding  to  temptations  ;  we 
shall  find  that  the  voluntary  faculty  may  be  ruined  from  within — 
may  surrender  itself  with  such  an  absorbing  vehemence  and  totality 
to  appetite,  passion,  and  selfishness,  that  it  becomes  unable  to  re- 
verse itself  and  overcome  its  own  inclination  and  self-determination. 
And  yet,   from   beginning  to  end,  there   is  no  compulsion   in   this 


CERTAINTY   OF    ENDLESS    PUNISllMr,i\  i.  209 

process.  The  transgressor  follows  himself  alone.  He  has  his  own 
way,  and  does  as  he  likes.  Neither  God,  nor  the  world,  nor  Satan 
forces  him  either  to  be,  or  to  do,  evil.  Sin  is  the  most  spontaneous 
of  self-motion.  But  self-motion  has  consequences  as  much  as  any 
other  motion.  And  moral  bondage  is  one  of  them.  "  Whosoever 
committeth  sin  is  the  slave  of  sin,"  says  Christ.     John  viii.  34. 

The  culmination  of  this  bondage  is  seen  in  the  next  life.  The 
.sinful  propensity,  being  allowed  to  develop  unresisted  and  un- 
checked, slowly  but  surely  eats  out  all  virtuous  force  as  rust  eats 
out  a  steel  spring,  until  in  the  awful  end  the  will  becomes  all  habit, 
all  lust,  and  all  sin.  "  Sin,  when  it  is  finished,  bringeth  forth  death." 
James  i.  15.  In  the  final  stage  of  this  proce.ss,  which  commonly  is 
not  reached  until  death,  when  "  the  spirit  returns  unto  God  who 
gave  it,"  the  guilty  free  agent  reaches  that  dreadful  condition  where 
resistance  to  evil  ceases  altogether,  and  surrender  to  evil  becom.ei 
demoniacal.  The  cravings  and  hankerings  of  long-indulged  and 
unresisted  sin  become  organic,  and  drag  the  man  ;  and  "  he  goeth 
after  them  as  an  ox  goeth  to  the  slaughter,  or  as  a  fool  to  the  cor- 
rection of  the  stocks — till  a  dart  strike  through  his  liver."  Prov. 
vii.  22,  23.  For  though  the  will  to  resist  may  die  out  of  a  man,  the 
conscience  to  condemn  it  never  can.  This  remains  eternally.  And 
when  the  process  is  complete  ;  when  the  responsible  creature  in  the 
abuse  of  free  agency  has  perfected  his  moral  ruin  ;  when  his  will 
to  good  is  all  gone  ;  there  remain  these  two  in  his  immortal  spirit 
— sin  and  conscience,  "  brimstone  and  fire."     Rev.  xxi.  8. 

Still  another  reason  for  the  endlessness  of  sin  is  the  fact  that 
rebellious  enmity  toward  law  and  its  Source  is  not  diminished,  but 
increased,  by  the  righteous  punishment  experienced  by  the  impeni- 
tent transgressor.  Penal  suffering  is  beneficial  only  when  it  is 
humbly  accepted,  is  acknowledged  to  be  deserved,  and  is  penitently 
submitted  to  ;  when  the  transgressor  says  :  "  Father,  I  have  sinned, 
and  am  no  more  worthy  to  be  called  thy  son  ;  make  me  as  one  of 


2rO  FUTURK    I'UNISIIMENT. 

tliy  hired  ser\-ants  ;"  Luke  xv.  i8,  19;  when,  with  the  penitent 
thief,  he  saj-s  :  "  We  are  in  this  condemnation  justly  ;  for  we  receive 
the  due  reward  of  our  deeds."  Luke  xxiii.  41.  But  when  in  this 
h'fe  retribution  is  denied  and  jeered  at  ;  and  when  in  the  next  Hfe 
it  is  complained  of  and  resisted,  and  the  arm  of  hate  and  defiance 
is  raised  against  the  tribunal,  penalty  hardens  and  exasperates. 
This  is  impenitence.  Such  is  the  temper  of  Satan  ;  and  such  is  the 
temper  of  all  who  finally  become  his  associates.  This  explains  why 
there  is  no  repentance  in  hell,  and  no  meek  submission  to  the 
Supreme  Judge.  This  is  the  reason  why  Dives,  the  impenitent  sen- 
sualist, is  informed  that  there  is  no  possible  passage  from  Hades  to 
Paradise,  by  reason  of  the  "  great  gulf  fixed  "  between  the  two  ;  and 
this  is  the  reason  why  he  asks  that  Lazarus  may  be  sent  to  warn 
his  five  brethren,  "lest  they  also  come  into  this  place  of  torment," 
where  the  request  for  "  a  drop  of  water," — a  mitigation  of  punish- 
ment— is  solemnly  refused  by  the  Eternal  Arbiter.  A  state  of 
existence  in  which  there  is  not  the  slightest  relaxing  of  penal  suf- 
fering, is  no  state  of  probation. 

3.  In  the  third  place,  endless  punishment  is  rational,  because 
sin  is  an  infinite  evil  ;  infinite  not  because  committed  by  an  infinite 
i)eing,  but  against  one.  We  reason  invariably  upon  this  principle. 
To  torture  a  dumb  beast  is  a  crime  ;  to  torture  a  man  is  a  greater 
crime.  The  person  who  transgresses  is  the  same  in  each  instance  ; 
but  the  different  worth  and  dignity  of  the  objects  upon  whom  his 
action  terminates  makes  the  difference  in  the  gravity  of  the  two 
offenses.  David's  adultery  was  a  finite  evil  in  reference  to  Uriah, 
but  an  infinite  evil  in  reference  to  God.  "  Against  thee  only  have 
I  sinned,"  was  the  feeling  of  the  sinner  in  this  case.  Had  the  patri- 
arch Joseph  yielded,  he  would  have  sinned  against  Pharaoh.  But 
I'ne  greatness  of  the  sin  as  related  to  the  fellow-creature  is  lost  in 
its  enormity  as  related  to  the  Creator,  and  his  only  question  is: 
"  How  can  I  do  this  great  wickedness  and  sin  against  God  ?" 
Gen.  xxxix.  9. 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  211 

The  incarnation  and  vicarious  satisfaction  for  sin  by  one  of  the 
persons  of  the  Godhead  demonstrates  the  infinity  of  the  evil.  It  is 
incredible  that  the  Eternal  Trinity  should  have  submitted  to  such 
a  stupendous  self-sacrifice,  to  remove  a  merely  finite  and  temporal 
evil.  The  doctrine  of  Christ's  vicarious  atonement,  logically,  stands 
or  falls  with  that  of  endless  punishment.  Historically,  it  has  stood 
or  fallen  with  it.  The  incarnation  of  Almighty  God,  in  order  to 
make  the  remission  of  sin  possible,  is  one  of  the  strongest  argu- 
ments for  the  eternity  and  infinity  of  penal  suffering. 

The  objection  that  an  offence  committed  in  a  finite  time  cannot 
be  an  infinite  evil,  and  deserve  an  infinite  suffering,  implies  that 
crime  must  be  measured  by  the  time  that  was  consumed  in  its  per- 
petration. But  even  in  human  punishment,  no  reference  is  had  to 
the  length  of  time  occupied  in  the  commission  of  the  offense.  Mur- 
der is  committed  in  an  instant,  and  theft  sometimes  requires  hours. 
But  the  former  is  the  greater  crime,  and  receives  the  greater  pun- 
ishment. 

4.  That  endless  punishment  is  reasonable  is  proved  by  the 
preference  of  the  wicked  themselves.  The  unsubmissive,  rebellious, 
defiant,  and  impenitent  spirit  prefers  hell  to  heaven.  Milton  cor- 
rectly represents  Satan  as  saying  :  "  All  good  to  me  becomes  bane, 
and  in  heaven  much  worse  would  be  my  state  "  ;  and,  also,  as  de- 
claring that  "  it  is  better  to  reign  in  hell  than  to  serve  in  heaven." 
This  agrees  with  the  Scripture  representation,  that  Judas  went  "  to 
his  own  place."     Acts  i.  25. 

The  lost  spirits  are  not  forced  into  a  sphere  that  is  unsuited  to 
them.  There  is  no  other  abode  in  the  universe  which  they  would 
prefer  to  that  to  which  they  are  assigned,  because  the  only  other 
abode  is  heaven.  The  meekness,  lowliness,  sweet  submission  to 
God,  and  love  of  him,  that  characterize  heaven,  are  more  hateful  to 
Lucifer  and  his  angels  than  even  the  sufferings  of  hell.  The  wicked 
would  be  no  happier  in  heaven  than  in  hell.     The  burden  and  an- 


212  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

guish  of  a  guilty  conscience,  says  South,  is  so  insupportable  that 
some  "  have  done  violence  to  their  own  lives,  and  so  fled  to  hell  as 
a  sanctuary,  and  chose  damnation  as  a  release."  This  is  illustrated 
by  facts  in  human  life.  The  thoroughly  vicious  and  ungodly  man 
prefers  the  license  and  freedom  to  sin  which  he  finds  in  the  haunts 
of  vice  to  the  restraints  and  purity  of  Christian  society.  There'  is 
hunger,  disease,  and  wretchedness  in  one  circle  ;  and  there  is  plenty, 
health,  and  happiness  in  the  other.  But  he  prefers  the  former.  He 
would  rather  be  in  the  gambling-house  and  brothel  than  in  the 
Christian  home. 

The  finally  lost  are  not  to  be  conceived  of  as  having  faint  de- 
sires and  aspirations  for  a  holy  and  heavenly  state  and  as  feebly 
but  really  inclined  to  sorrow  for  their  sin,  but  are  kept  in  hell  con- 
trary to  their  yearning  and  petition.  They  are  sometimes  so 
described  by  the  opponent  of  the  doctrine,  or  at  least  so  thought 
of.  There  is  not  a  single  throb  of  godly  sorrow  or  a  single  pulsa- 
tion of  holy  desire  in  the  lost  spirit.  The  temper  toward  God  in 
the  lost  is  angry  and  defiant.  "  They  hate  both  me  and  my  Father," 
says  the  Son  of  God,  "without  a  cause."  John  xv.  24,  25.  Satan 
and  his  followers  "  love  darkness  rather  than  light,"  hell  rather  than 
heaven,  "  because  their  deeds  are  evil."  John  iii.  19.  Sin  ultimatel\' 
assumes  a  fiendish  form  and  degree.  It  is  pure  wickedness  without 
regret  or  sorrow,  and  with  a  delight  in  evil  for  evil's  sake.  There 
are  some  men  who  reach  this  state  of  depravity  even  before  they 
die.  They  are  seen  in  the  callous  and  cruel  voluptuaries  portra)'ed 
by  Tacitus,  and  the  heaven-defying  atheists  described  by  St.  Simon. 
They  are  also  depicted  in  Shakespeare's  lago.  The  reader  knows 
that  lago  is  past  saving,  and  deserves  everlasting  damnation.  Im- 
pulsively, he  cries  out  with  Lodovico :  "Where  is  that  viper?  bring 
the  villain  forth."  And  then  Othello's  calmer  but  deeper  feeling  be- 
comes his  own  :  "  I  look  down  towards  his  feet — but  that's  a  fable  : 
If  that  thou  be'st  a  devil,  I  cannot  kill  thee."  The  punishment  is 
remitted  to  the  retribution  of  God. 


CERTAINTY   OF   ENDLESS   PUNISHMENT.  213 

5.  That  endless  punishment  is  rational,  is  proved  by  the  history 
of  morals.  In  the  history  of  human  civilization  and  morality,  it  is 
found  that  that  age  which  is  most  reckless  of  law,  and  most  vicious 
in  practice,  is  the  age  that  has  the  loosest  conception  of  penalty, 
and  is  the  most  inimical  to  the  doctrine  of  endless  retribution.  A 
virtuous  and  religious  generation  adopts  sound  ethics,  and  rever- 
ently believes  that  "  the  Judge  of  all  the  earth  will  do  right,"  Gen. 
xviii.  25  ;  that  God  will  not  "call  evil  good,  and  good  evil,  nor  put 
darkness  for  light  and  light  for  darkness,"  Isa.  v.  20  ;  and  that  it  is 
a  deadly  error  to  assert  with  the  sated  and  worn-out  sensualist ; 
"  All  things  come  alike  to  all  ;  there  is  one  event  to  the  righteous 
and  the  wicked."     Eccl.  ix.  2. 

The  French  people,  at  the  close  of  the  last  century,  were  a  very 
demoralized  and  vicious  generation,  and  there  was  a  very  general 
disbelief  and  denial  of  the  doctrines  of  the  Divine  existence,  the 
immortality  of  the  soul,  the  freedom  of  the  will,  and  future  retribu- 
tion. And  upon  a  smaller  scale,  the  same  fact  is  continually 
repeating  itself.  Any  little  circle  of  business  men  who  are  known 
to  deny  future  rewards  and  punishments  are  shunned  by  those  who 
desire  safe  investments.  The  recent  uncommon  energy  of  opposi- 
tion to  endless  punishment,  which  started  about  ten  years  ago  in 
this  country,  synchronized  with  great  defalcations  and  breaches  of 
trust,  uncommon  corruption  in  mercantile  and  political  life,  and 
great  distrust  between  man  and  man.  Luxury  deadens  the  moral 
sense,  and  luxurious  populations  are  not  apt  to  have  the  fear  of 
God  before  their  eyes.     Hence  luxurious  ages  are  immoral. 

One  remark  remains  to  be  made  respecting  the  extent  and  scope 
of  hell.  It  is  only  a  spot  in  the  universe  of  God.  Compared  with 
heaven,  hell  is  narrow  and  limited.  The  kingdom  of  Satan  is  insig- 
nificant in  contrast  with  the  kingdom  of  Christ.  In  the  immense 
range  of  God's  dominion,  good  is  the  rule,  and  evil  is  the  exception. 
Sin  is  a  speck  upon  the  infinite  azure  of  eternity  ;  a  spot  on  the 
sun.     Hell  is  only  a  corner  of  the   universe.     The  Gothic  etymon 


214  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

denotes  a  covered-up  hole.  In  Scripture,  hell  is  a  "pit,"  a  "lake;" 
not  an  ocean.     It  is  "bottomless,"  but  not  boundless. 

The  Gnostic  and  Dualistic  theories,  which  make  God  and  Satan 
or  the  Demiurge  nearly  equal  in  power  and  dominion,  find  no  sup- 
port in  Revelation.  The  Bible  teaches  that  there  will  always  be 
some  sin  and  some  death  in  the  universe.  Some  angels  and  men 
will  forever  be  the  enemies  of  God.  But  their  number,  compared 
with  that  of  unfallen  angels  and  redeemed  men,  is  small.  They  arc 
not  described  in  the  glowing  language  and  metaphors  by  which  the 
immensity  of  the  holy  and  blessed  is  delineated.  "The  chariots  of 
God  are  twenty  thousand,  and  thousands  of  angels."  Ps.  Ixviii.  17. 
"The  Lord  came  from  Sinai,  and  shined  forth  from  Mount  Paran, 
and  he  came  with  ten  thousands  of  his  saints."  Deut.  xxxii.  2. 
"The  Lord  hath  prepared  his  throne  in  the  heavens,  and  his  king- 
dom ruleth  over  all."  Ps.  ciii.  21.  "  Thine  is  the  kingdom,  and  the 
power,  and  the  glory."  Matt.  vi.  13.  The  Lord  Christ  "must  reign 
till  he  hath  put  all  enemies  under  his  feet."  i  Cor.  xv.  25.  St. 
John  "heard  a  voice  from  heaven  as  the  voice  of  many  waters,  and 
as  the  voice  of  a  great  thunder."  Rev.  xiv.  i.  The  New  Jerusalem 
"  lieth  four  square,  the  length  is  as  large  as  the  breadth  ;  the  gates 
of  it  shall  not  be  shut  at  all  by  day  ;  the  kings  of  the  earth  do 
bring  their  honor  into  it."  Rev.  xxi.  16,  24,  25.  The  number  o; 
the  lost  spirits  is  never  thus  emphasized  and  enlarged  upon.  The 
brief,  stern  statement  is  that  "  the  fearful  and  unbelieving  shall 
have  their  part  in  the  lake  that  burnetii  with  fire  and  brimstone." 
Rev.  xxi.  8.  No  metaphors  and  amplifications  are  added  to  make 
the  impression  of  an  immense  "  multitude  which  no  man  can 
number." 

We  have  thus  briefly  presented  the  rational  defense  of  the  most 
severe  and  unwelcome  of  all  the  tenets  of  the  Christian  religion. 
It  must  have  a  foothold  in  the  human  reason,  or  it  could  not  have 
maintained  itself  against  all  the  recoil  and  opposition  which  it  ilicits 
from  the   human   heart.     Founded  in  ethics,  in  law,  and  in  judicial 


V.1.KTAINTY    OF    ENDLESS    PUNISHMENT.  21 5 

reason,  as  well  as  unquestionably  taught  by  the  Author  of  Chris- 
tianity, it  is  no  wonder  that  the  doctrine  of  eternal  retribution,  in 
spite  of  selfish  prejudices  and  appeals  to  human  sentiment,  has  al- 
ways been  a  belief  of  Christendom.  From  theology  and  philosophy 
it  has  passed  into  human  literature,  and  is  wrought  into  its  finest 
structures.  It  makes  the  solemn  ^jbstance  of  the  Iliad  and  the 
Greek  Drama.  It  pours  a  somber  light  into  the  brightness  and 
grace  of  the  ^neid.  It  is  the  theme  of  the  Inferno,  and  is  presup- 
posed by  both  of  the  other  parts  of  the  Divine  Comedy.  The  epic 
of  Milton  derives  from  it  its  awful  grandeur.  And  the  greatest  of 
the  Shakespearean  tragedies  sound  and  stir  the  depths  of  the  hu- 
man soul  by  their  delineation  of  guilt  intrinsic  and  eternal. 

In  this  discussion,  we  have  purposely  brought  into  view  only 
the  righteousness  of  Almighty  God,  as  related  to  the  voluntary  and 
responsible  action  of  man.  We  have  set  holy  justice  and  disobe- 
dient free-will  face  to  face,  and  drawn  the  conclusions.  This  is  all 
that  the  defender  of  the  doctrine  of  retribution  is  strictly  concerned 
with.  If  he  can  demonstrate  that  the  principles  of  eternal  rectitude 
are  not  in  the  least  degree  infringed  upon,  but  are  fully  maintained, 
when  sin  is  endlessly  punished,  he  has  done  all  that  his  problem 
requires.     Whatever  is  just  is  beyond  all  rational  attack. 

But  with  the  Christian  Gospel  in  his  hands,  the  defender  of  the 
Divine  justice  finds  it  difficult  to  be  entirely  reticent  and  say  not  a 
word  concerning  the  Divine  mercy.  Over  against  God's  infinite 
antagonism  and  righteous  severity  toward  moral  evil  there  stands 
God's  infinite  pity  and  desire  to  forgive.  This  is  realized,  not  by 
the  high-handed  and  unprincipled  method  of  pardoning  without 
legal  satisfaction  of  any  kind,  but  by  the  strange  and  stupendous 
method  of  putting  the  Eternal  Judge  in  the  place  of  the  human 
criminal  ;  of  substituting  God's  satisfaction  for  that  due  from  man. 
In  this  vicarious  atonement  for  sin,  the  Triune  God  relinquishes  no 
claims  of  law,  and  waives  no  rights  to  justice.     The  sinner's  Divine 


2l6  FUTUKK    rUNISIIMENT. 

Subslitutc,  in  his  hour  of  voluntary  agony  and  death,  drinks  tlie 
:up  of  punitive  and  inexorable  justice  to  the  dregs.  Any  man 
who,  in  penitent  faith,  avails  himself  of  this  vicarious  method  of 
setting  himself  right  with  the  Eternal  Nemesis,  will  find  that  it 
succeeds  ;  but  he  who  rejects  it  must  through  endless  cycles  grap- 
ple with  the  dread  problem  of  human  guilt  in  his  own  person,  and 
alone. — (North  American  Review,  February,   1885.J 


PROBATIONISM, 


PURGAIORY. 


THE  DANTEAN  THEORY  OF  PHYSICAL  SUFFERING. 


"  It  is  appointed  unto  men  once  to  clic,  but  after  that  i\\2 
judgment." 

"  He  that  is  unjust,  let  him  be  unjust  still  ;  and  he  that  is  filthy, 
let  him  be  filthy  still  ;  and  he  that  is  righteous,  let  him  be  righteous 
still ;  and  he  that  is  holy,  let  him  be  holy  still." 


"  The  life  which  is,  and  that  which  is  to  come. 
Suspended  hang  in  such  nice  equipoise, 
A  breath  disturbs  the  balance  ;  and  that  scale 
In  which  wc  throw  our  hearts  preponderates." 


VROBATIONISM. 


f^^%  HE  theory  of  Probationists,  as  already  briefly  JcfinecT,  is 
i,j;0      as  follovvr. :     Not  that  all  men  will   be  saved,  but   that 


xsm  those  who  die  impenitent  will  have  a  second  chance, 
and  that  those  who  do  not  improve  it  will  fall  into 
eternal  sin  and  go  into  eternal  punishment.  Men  may  thus 
'^^  secure  the  pardon  after  death  which  they  failed  to  secure 
while  they  lived  on  earth. 

This  theory  differs  from  the  Optimistic — the  view  held  by  such 
men  as  Canon  Farrar — which  gives  no  opinion  whatever  as  to  the 
ultimate  fate  of  impenitent  sinners,  beyond  indulging  in  the  hope  that 
in  some  way  they  shall  at  last  be  freed  from  the  punishment  due 
their  sins.  The  Probationists  on  the  other  hand  hold  that  being 
in  utter  ignorance  whether  any  soul  has  gone  too  far  for  recovery, 
and  whether  chastisement  continued  for  a  longer  or  shorter  period 
may  not  force  the  most  incorrigible  to  yield,  we  ought  not  to  re- 
strict repentance  and  pardon  to  the  present  existence,  but  that  if 
this  second  chance  be  not  improved  the  everlasting  destruction  of 
such  sinners  is  certain.  It  agrees  with  the  Roman  Catholic  doc- 
trine of  purgatory,  in  so  far  as  it  believes  in  a  purifying  and  disci- 
plining process  after  death,  but  it  differs  in  this  important  point, 
that  Purgatory  is  only  reserved  for  such  as  die  in  peace,  but  not  in 
that  perfect  condition  which  makes  them  meet  for  heaven. 

Purgatory  is  a  condition  of  suffering  and  the  commonly  received 
traditional  doctrine  is,  that  the  suffering  is  of  the  nature  of  material 
fire.     The  design  is  expiation  of  sin  and  purification  of  soul.    The 


220  FUTURE    PUNISILMENT. 

intensity  and  duration  of  purgatorial  pains  are  proportioned  to  the 
degree  of  guilt  of  the  individual  sufferers.  The  soul  may  remain 
in  this  state  for  a  few  hours,  or  for  a  thousand  years — the  only  limit 
being  the  da)- of  judgment.  The  sufferings  of  the  departed  may 
liowever,  be  alleviated,  and  their  duration  shortened  by  the  prayers 
of  saints  and  the  sacrifice  of  the  mass  :  and  it  is  within  the  power 
of  the  church,  through  her  authorized  clergy,  to  remit  entirely  or 
partially  the  penalty  of  sins  under  which  souls  are  suffering.  Many 
eminent  Roman  Catholic  writers  make  no  mention  whatever  of 
positive  suffering,  or  of  the  commonly  received  idea  that  purgatory 
consists  in  bodily  torment,  and  represent  it  simply  "as  a  state  of 
'gradual  preparation  of  the  imperfectly  sanctified  for  admission  into 
heaven." 

Probationists  differ  as  to  when  probation  is  to  end.  The  major- 
ity leave  the  question  as  insoluble,  while  others  fix  the  limit  of 
probation  by  the  second  coming  of  the  Lord  and  the  final  judgment. 
The  last  named  view  has  been  recently  set  forth  by  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Clement  Clemance  of  Camberwell,  London,  in  his  little  v^olume  on 
Future  Punishment.  He  rejects  the  theory  of  universal  restoration, 
as  entirely  against  scripture  ; — of  annihilation,  as  a  distortion  of 
scripture  ; — of  the  absolute  endlessness  of  suffering  and  sin,  as  going 
beyond  scripture  ;  and  endeavors  to  show  that  the  doctrine  of 
human  probation,  ending  with  the  second  coming  of  Christ,  is  the 
most  reasonable  and  scriptural  of  all.  The  following  extracts  will 
show  his  train  of  thought  : — "  Every  soul  of  man  will  sooner  or  later 
be  brought  into  contact  with  Christ  for  acceptance  or  rejection,  be- 
fore His  second  coming.  No  human  probation  can  be  finished, 
until  the  man  knows  of  the  Lordship  of  Jesus  Christ  over  the  des- 
tinies of  human  souls.  If  God's  equity  requires  it,  the  probation  of 
some  men  may  be  extended  beyond  the  moment  of  their  crossing 
the  boundary  line,  which  divides  this  state  of  being  from  the  next. 
There  is  a  period,  called  "the  day  of  salvation,"  in  which  mercy 
may  be  obtained,"  but  that  da)-  or  period   has  its  limit.     The  "  day 


rUOBATIONISM*  22  T 

of  salvation,"  for  the  human  race  as  a  whole,  will  last  till  the  second 
coming  of  the  Son  of  God.  The  phrase  is  applied  by  Paul  to  the 
present  gospel  day.  The  time  of  gospel  blessing  commenced  on 
the  day  of  Pentecost,  and  reaches  on  to  "  the  great  and  terrible  day 
of  the  Lord."  Meanwhile,  "  whosoever  shall  call  on  the  name  of 
the  Lord  shall  be  saved."  The  wheat  and  tares  are  to  grow  together 
till  the  harvest,  and  the  harvest  is  the  end  of  the  world.  The  me- 
diatorial dominion  of  Christ  over  the  whole  human  race,  will  last 
till  the  time  of  his  reappearing.  But  that  government  of  His  is 
much  more  elsewhere  than  here.  He  is  Lord  both  of  the  dead  and 
of  the  living.  The  millions  now  dwelling  on  earth  are  but  a  frac- 
tion, a  tiny  fraction,  of  those  under  His  sway.  Of  every  soul  that 
is  gone  hence,  from  Adam  till  now,  "  Jesus  Christ  is  Lord,"  and 
each  part  of  this  double  realm  of  His,  He  is  governing  with  a  view 
to  the  judgment  day.  That  is  the  great  decisive  day  for  all  man- 
kind. The  gospel  news  will  then  have  resounded  through  both 
realms,  and  through  both  realms  the  "  trumpet  shall  sound."  Then 
"  the  day  of  salvation  "  will  have  reached  its  close.  Ere  then,  every 
soul  will  have  heard  of  Christ ;  but  it  may  be  that  even  up  to  the 
last  moment,  human  spirits  will  be  brought  into  existence,  and  up 
to  the  very  close  of  the  gospel  "  day,"  mercy's  door  will  stand  open 
for  each  new-born  child  of  man  ! 

There  is  no  principle  developed  more  clearly  in  the  word  of 
God  than  this — that  individuals  are  on  probation.  But  who  can 
tell  how  long  the  probation  of  the  individual  will  last?  It  is  quite 
possible  that  the  probation  of  the  individual  may  close  before  the 
termination  of  his  natural  life  !  Judas  is  a  typical  example  of  such 
a  case.  He  had  been,  surely  as  much  as  ever  man  could  be,  in 
close  contact  with  the  Lord  Jesus,  and  yet  before  he  had  committed 
his  deed  of  treachery,  our  Lord  used  concerning  him  the  words, 
"  Good  were  it  for  that  man  if  he  had  not  been  born."  Here  then, 
was  a  man  who  ere  the  natural  life  had  ceased  in  death,  was  "twice 
dead."    He  had  sold  himself  to  evil,  sold  himself  away  from  Christ ; 


222  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

his  day  was  over.  A  man's  state  may  thus  be  fixed  long  before 
death — it  is  reached  when  the  state  of  fixedness  in  sin  is  reached. 
Sin  has  its  stages.  Each  stage  of  sin  is  marked  by  greater  hard- 
ness and  insensibiHty.  The  final  stage  of  sin  is  hopelessly  incurable. 
That  stage  marks  probation's  end.  The  man  is  then  practically 
unreachable,  as  far  as  any  means  or  agencies  known  to  us  are  coi  - 
cerned.  He  has  fixed  his  own  state,  in  an  immovable  obstinacy  of 
resistance  to  the  divine.  It  is  not  that  God's  springs  of  mercy  are 
dry,  but  he  has  sinned  so  long  and  so  grossly,  that  no  appeals  from 
God  can  call  forth  any  penitential  tears  !  When  such  hopeless  ir- 
curableness  is  reached,  any  further  prolongation  of  probation  is 
not  asked  for  by  the  Great  Intercessor.  Under  the  administration 
of  our  Great  Intercessor,  sinners  are  spared  long — but  a  time  may 
come  when  sparing  mercy  avails  not,  and  when  not  even  the  ten- 
derest  pleader  could  ask  for  any  arrest  of  judgment. 

Thus  does  the  word  of  God  bring  into  view  the  divine  forbear- 
ance and  equity.  The  limit  of  probation  is  not  arbitrary.  It  is  a 
limit  of  character,  reached  by  the  §inner  himself  in  the  spontaneous 
course  of  sin.  It  may  or  it  may  not  coincide  with  the  moment  of 
death.  It  may,  perchance,  be  reached  afterwards.  It  certainly 
may  be  reached  before.  It  is  a  spiritual  limit  rather  than  a  tem- 
poral one  ;  a  bound  fixed  not  according  to  the  ticks  of  a  dial,  but 
according  to  the  state  of  a  soul.  When  this  limit  will  be  reached 
by  anyone,  God  only  knows  ;  and  it  would  be  worse  than  madness 
for  any  one  to  make  so  perilous  an  experiment  as  to  try  how  near 
he  can  reach  it  without  overstepping  it.  So  far  from  holding  out 
to  those  who  continue  to  resist  the  appeals  of  divine  love  any  war- 
rant for  supposing  that  their  probation  will  continue  indefinitely 
beyond  death,  we  see  far  more  reason  to  fear  it  will  not  last  till 
then.  What  warrant  have  we  for  supposing  the  law  of  inveterate 
habitude  reversed  on  the  other  side  the  grave  ?  Where  any  man 
longs  for  more  light,  and  follows  what  light  he  has,  we  are  not  for- 
bidden to    -.link  that  the  light  for  which  he  yearns  will  gleam  in  the 


^ 


PROBATIONISM.  223 

invisible  world,  even  if  denied  him  in  this  ;  but  where  a  man  re- 
fuses the  Hght  God  sends  him,  he  has  not  an  atom  of  warrant  for 
supposing  that  death  will  alter  the  habitudes  of  the  soul." 

Our  objections  to  Probationism  hold  equally  good  whether  an 
indefinite  period  be  given,  or  a  limit  fixed  by  the  second  coming  of 
Christ,  for  the  repentance  and  restoration  of  the  sinner.  It  is  not 
necessary  to  give  in  detail  the  arguments  of  evangelical  christians 
against  a  future  state  of  probation,  which  are  similar  to  those 
against  Universalism,  to  be  considered  hereafter.  Suffice  it  to  say 
that  neither  probationism  or  purgatory  are  taught  in  the  word  of 
God  nor  formed  any  part  of  Christs  teachings  or  that  of  his  apos- 
tles. On  the  contrary,  both  seem  directly  opposed  to  the  entire 
spirit  of  Christianity,  which  makes  salvation  simply  and  entirely  the 
result  of  faith  in  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  without  future  probation — 
without  the  good  works  or  prayers  of  saints,  and  without  any 
amount  of  purgatorial  suffering  after  death.  Indeed,  Cardinal 
Wiseman  himself  admits  this  as  fully  as  any  Protestant  when  he 
says  :  "  No  fastings,  no  prayers,  no  alms  deeds,  no  works  that  we 
can  conceive  to  be  done  by  man,  however  protracted,  however  ex- 
pensive or  rigorous  they  may  be,  can,  according  to  the  Catholic 
doctrine  have  the  most  infinitesimal  weight  for  obtaining  the  re- 
mission of  sin,"  although  he  adds,  in  justification  of  penance,  that 
after  God  has  forgiven  sin,  a  certain  degree  of  inferior  or  tempor- 
ary punishment  must  be  inflicted,  according  to  the  guilt  of  the  in- 
dividual transgressor,  before  full  satisfaction  is  made  to  God 

It  is  also  worthy  of  remark,  that  wherever  men  have  been  taught 
to  believe,  that  there  is  the  hope  of  probation  and  purification,  by 
purgatorial  fires  or  otherwise,  they  have  become  reckless  and  licen- 
tious. When  Greek  and  Roman  philosophy  taught,  that  "the 
Gods  do  not  punish,"  gross  outbreaks  of  sin  occured,  to  an  extent 
unheard  of  before.  Disastrous  results  followed  to  morality  and 
religion,  which  lasted  for  centuries.  History  tells  us  that  no  subse- 
quent efforts  could  ever  succeed  in  awakening  a  fear  of  divine  pun- 


224  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

ishment,  and  the  result  was  the  deplorable  dcc^encracy  of  the  Roman 
Empire.  "  Truth  and  faith  ceased,  chastity  became  contemptible, 
perjury  was  practised  without  sham.e,  and  every  species  of  excess 
and  cruelty  was  indulged  in."  The  sale  of  indulgences  after  the 
time  of  the  crusades,  led  men  to  believe  that  exemption  from  the 
consequences  and  penalties  of  sin  might  be  purchased.  The  result 
of  rationalistic  teachings  during  the  reign  of  Charles  II.  in  England, 
in  emancipating  the  minds  of  the  masses  from  all  fear  of  future 
punishment  was  of  a  similar  character.  Immorality,  impurity,  law- 
lessness and  practical  atheism  prevailed.  The  writings  of  Voltaire, 
Diderot  and  others  in  France,  and  afterwards  in  Germany,  pro- 
duced the  same  effects  upon  society,  until  humanity  was  shocked 
by  the  hideous  excesses  of  the  age,  sanctioned  and  enforced  by  the 
teachings  of  a  deified  but  brutilised  reason.  Just  as  surely  as  men 
are  taught  that  there  is  probation  and  purification  of  any  kind  after 
death,  for  sins  committed  in  this  body,  will  life  be  upon  the  lowest 
plane.  "  Once  in  the  end  of  the  world,  NOT  AFTER,  has  Christ  ap- 
peared to  put  away  sin  by  the  sacrifice  of  Himself."  At  the  very 
best,  the  probationist  is  resting  upon  a  painful  uncertainty.  He 
cannot  be  sure — no  man  can  be  sure — that  there  is  opportunity 
after  death  for  repentance,  or  that  he  could  then  use  it  to  his  own 
case  with  advantage.  On  the  other  hand,  if  it  be  even  probable 
that  death  may  end  probation,  surely  the  supreme  dictate  of  wis- 
dom is  to  repent  now?  Nay  further,  if  reason  indicates  that  death 
will  in  all  likelihood  end  probation,  and  the  Scriptures  teach  em- 
phatically that  it  shall,  surely  the  day  of  salvation  and  the  accepted 
time  should  be  improved  !  The  poison  of  sin  cannot  be  eradicated 
by  tears  and  sighs  and  the  anguish  of  remorse. 

History  tells  us  that  Khaibar,  a  Jewish  captive  serving  at  the 
table  of  Mohammed,  bore  the  false  prophet  a  cup,  in  which  was  a 
mixture  of  deadly  poison.  Mohammed  put  the  chalice  to  his  lips, 
but  tasting  the  poison  dashed  the  deadly  cup  to  the  floor.  But 
with  that  one  sip.  enough  of  the  poison   had   entered   his  veins   to 


FROBATIONJSM.  225 

affect  him  for  life.  Long  after,  at  his  death,  he  exclaimed,  "  The 
veins  of  my  heart  are  throbbing  with  the  poison  of  Khaibar."  And 
so,  the  poison  <^f  s'n  once  throbbing  in  the  spiritual  life  leaves  not 
that  life  more  easily,  than  did  the  poison  of  Khaibar  that  coursed 
in  the  very  life  blood  of  Mohammed.  A  new  nature  alone  can 
expel  the  old.  "Ye  must  be  born  again,"  says  Christ,  and  experi- 
ence as  well  as  sanctified  reason  coincides  with  the  words  of 
inspiration. 

A  good  deal  of  the  poetry  of  the  age  is  as  we  have  already  seen, 
flavored  with  the  idea  of  repentance  beyond  the  grave.  No  poet 
is  more  frequently  quoted  than  Whittier  on  moral  and  religious 
questions,  who  in  1867,  wrote  his  now  famous  poem  on  "The 
Eternal  Goodness  :" 

"  I  know  not  where  His  islands  lift 

Their  fronded  palms  in  air  • 
I  only  know  I  cannot  drift 

Beyond  His  love  and  care 
And  so  beside  the  silent  sea 

I  wait  the  muffled  oar  ; 
No  harm  from  Him  can  come  to  me, 

On  ocean  or  on  shore," 

Whittier  adds  : 

"  O  brothers  !  if  my  faith  is  vain, 
If  hopes  like  these  betray, 
Pray  for  me  that  my  feet  may  gain 
The  sure  and  safer  way." 

So  he  sang  ;  but  it  is  significant  that  when  we  turn  on  a  year, 
in  the  mellowing  ripeness  of  this  poet's  wisdom,  we  find  a  later  pro- 
duction which  is  as  yet  only  rarely  quoted,  but  which  seems  to  be 
the  deepest  voice  of  his  final  philosophy  : 

"Though  God  be  good  and  free  be  Heaven, 

No  force  divine  can  love  compel  ; 
And  though  the  song  of  sins  forgiven 

May  sound  through  lowest  hell, 


726  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

The  sweet  persuasion  of  His  voice 

Respects  thy  sanctity  of  will  ; 
lie  givcth  day  :  thou  hast  thy  choice 

To  walk  in  darkness  still. 

No  word  of  doom  may  shut  thee  out, 
No  wind  of  wrath  may  downward  whirl 

No  swords  of  fire  keep  watch  about 
The  open  gates  of  pearl. 

\  tenderer  light  than  moon  or  sun. 

Than  song  of  earth  a  sweeter  hymn, 
May  shine  and  sound  forever  on, 

And  thou  be  deaf  and  dim. 

Forever  round  the  Mercy-seat 

The  guiding  lights  of  love  shall  burn  : 

But  what  if,  habit-bound,  thy  feet 
Shall  lack  the  will  to  turn  ^ 

What  if  thine  eye  refuse  to  see. 

Thine  ear  of  Heaven's  free  welcome  fail. 

And  thou  a  willing  captive  be. 
Thyself  thy  own  dark  jail  ?" 

That  is  just  what  the  scriptures  teach  of  the  doctrnic  of  future 

retribution.     God's  finger  does  not  light  the  fires  of  hell  ;  ev^ery 

sinner  makes  his  own  hell.     Remorse  may  scourge  the  soul,  but  all 

to  no  purpose  : 

"Shall  I  kill  myself? 
What  help  in  that  ?     I  cannot  kill  my  sin, 
If  soul  be  soul  ;  nor  can  I  kill  my  shame  ; 
No,  nor  by  living  can  I  live  it  down. 
The  days  will  grow  to  weeks,  the  weeks  to  months, 
The  months  will  add  themselves  and  make  the  years, 
The  years  will  roll  into  the  centuries, 
And  mine  will  ever  be  a  name  of  scorn." 


PURGATOEY. 


F-^V  NCI  DENT  ALLY,  in  discussing-  Probationism,  we  have 
lR^Yi  referred  to  the  teachings  of  the  Church  of  Rome  con- 
cerning Purgatory.  Although  the  object  of  this  treatise 
#  yi\  "^  ^^  "°^  ^°  refute  such  views,  but  rather  to  estabhsh  the 
^^P  doctrine  of  Eternal  Punishment  as  against  Universalism, 
^  a  statement  of  what  the  doctrine  of  Purgatory  is,  with  the 

arguments  used  for  and  against  it,  may  not  be  considered  out  of 
place  by  many  of  our  readers. 

The  Romish  doctrine  of  endless  retribution  is  very  much  what 
is  held  by  the  majority  of  evangelical  churches  : — that  there  is  a 
hell,  and  there  reprobate  angels  and  lost  men  are  eternally  pun- 
ished. While  not  teaching  authoritatively  that  future  punishment 
will  be  physical,  it  inclines  towards  such  a  view,  and  asserts  that  it 
is  dangerous  to  deny  that  it  will  be  so.  Absolutely  to  deny  or  to 
assert  physical  suffering,  transcends  our  means  of  knowledge.  In 
the  present  life  pain  of  the  soul  wears  on  the  body,  so  that  the 
whole  man  is  affected.  In  the  future  life,  we  cannot  tell  what  may 
or  may  not  be  the  reciprocal  relation  of  the  soul,  and  its  non- 
material  and  indestructible  body,  so  that  physical  suffering  is  by  no 
means  impossible.* 

Purgatory  is  a  preparatory  state  for  the  enjoyment  of  heaven, 
where  the  souls  of  the  righteous  who  have  died  in  a  state  of  grace, 

*  For  an  authoritative  statemeut  of  the  views  held  by  the  Roman  Gajtholic  Church 
regarding  "  Eternal  Punishment,"  the  reader  is  referred  to  the  statement  of  Archbiihop 
Lynch,  to  be  found  near  the  close  of  the  volume. 


228  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

arc  purified  and  made  meet  for  everlasting  bliss.  As  defined  by 
Catholic  writers  : — It  is  a  place  or  state,  where  souls  departing  this 
life,  with  remission  of  their  sins,  as  to  the  guilt  and  eternal  pain,  but 
yet  liable  to  some  temporal  punishment  still  remaining  due;  or  not 
perfectly  freed  from  the  blemish  of  some  defects  which  we  call 
venial  sins,  are  purged  before  their  admittance  into  heaven,  where 
nothing  that  is  defiled  can  enter.  It  is  further  held,  that  such  souls 
so  detained  in  Purgatory,  being  the  living  members  of  Christ  Jesus, 
are  relieved  by  the  prayers  and  suffrages  of  their  fellow-members 
here  on  earth.  But  where  this  place  may  be — of  what  nature  or 
quality  the  pain  may  be — how  long  souls  may  be  there  detained — 
in  what  manner  the  suffrages  made  on  their  behalf  may  be  applied 
— whether  by  way  of  satisfaction  or  intercession,  are  questions 
superfluous  and  impertinent  as  to  faith.  In  the  "  Orphan's  Friend," 
a  Catholic  periodical  published  in  Boston,  U.  S.,  for  October,  1884, 
there  is  the  following  appeal  for  Holy  Souls  in  Purgatory  : 

"  November,  the  month  of  the  Holy  Souls,  is  at  hand.  We  trust 
our  readers  will  do  all  they  can  during  this  month  to  solace  these 
poor  souls.  It  is  in  the  power  of  all  to  help  these  spouses  of  Christ 
and  open  for  them  the  doors  of  Heaven.  Let  those  who  have 
means  have  numerous  masses  offered  for  their  relief,  first,  for  their 
own  friends  and  relatives,  second,  for  the  millions  who  have  no  one 
to  pray  for  them  or  who  have  been  forgotten  by  those  most  indebted 
to  them,  (the  money  thus  spent  will  be  returned  a  hundredfold). 
Let  those  who  are  poor  in  this  world's  goods  give  according  to  their 
means,  and  let  all  join  prayer  and  the  practice  of  good  works  to 
their  alms.  We  especially  recommend  to  the  charitable  prayers  of 
our  readers,  the  souls  of  deceased  members,  that  they  may  soon 
reach  the  eternal  rest  they  so  ardently  sigh  for,  and  that  once  in 
Heaven,  they  may  intercede  for  us." 

"In  suffering,  there  is  something  sadder  than  suffering  itself — 
abandonment.  To  suffer  and  find  some  one  to  sympathize,  to  be 
interested,  to  compassionate, — this  is  not  the  saddest  suffering  ;  but 


PURGATORY.  229 

to  suffer  and  realize  that  no  one  shares  our  suffering  by  a  sentiment, 
a  thought,  or  a  tear — to  suffer  and  find  no  consolation — this  is  tor- 
ture multiplied  by  torture.  And  this  it  is  that  gives  the  sorrows  of 
Purgatory  a  sovereign  interest  and  the  most  legitimate  compassion  ; 
their  sorrows  are  the  most  torsaken  of  all  sorrows  ;  they  can  truly 
say,  in  the  terrible  reality  of  their  abandonment :  'They  have  heard 
the  voice  of  my  groaning,  and  among  them  there  is  no  one  to 
console  me.' " 

This  is  accompanied  by  certain  verses,  addressed  to  the  Queen 
of  Purgatory,  in  which  the  doctrine  is  set  forth  in  poetic  form  : 

"  O  turn  to  Jesus,  Mother  !  turn 

And  call  Him  by  His  tenderest  names  ; 
Pray  for  the  Holy  Souls  that  burn 
This  hour  amid  the  cleansing  flames. 

Oh  !  they  have  fought  a  gallant  fight ! 

In  death's  cold  arms  they  persevered  ; 
And.  after  life's  uncheery  night. 

The  harbor  of  their  rest  is  neared. 

In  pains  beyond  all  earthly  pains. 
Favorites  of  Jesus!  there  they  lie. 

Letting  the  fire  wear  out  their  stains. 
And  worshipping  God's  purity. 

Spouses  of  Christ  they  are,  for  He 
Was  wedded  to  them  by  His  blood  ; 

And  Angels  o'er  their  destiny 
In  wondering  adoration  brood. 

They  are  children  of  thy  tears  ; 

Then  hasten,  Mother  !  to  their  aid 
In  pity  think  each  hour  appears 

An  Age  while  glory  is  delayed. 

See,  how  they  bound  amid  their  fires, 
While  pain  and  love  their  spirits  fill ; 

Then  with  self-crucified  desires 
Utter  sweet  murmurs,  and  lie  still. 


230  FUTURE   PUNISHMENTv 

The  doctrine  of  a  purgatory  it  is  only  fair  to  add,  is  also  held 
to  be  a  necessity  by  such  men  as  Canon  Farrar,  who  says  ;  "  I  be- 
lieve that  man's  destiny  stops  not  at  the  grave,  and  that  many  who 
knew  not  Christ  here  will  know  him  there.  I  believe  that  here- 
after— whether  by  means  of  the  almost  sacrament  of  death,"  or  in 
others  ways  unknown  to  us,  God's  mercy  may  reach  many  who  to 
all  earthly  appearance,  might  seem  to  us  to  die  in  a  lost  and  unre- 
generate  state.  I  believe  that  Christ  went  and  preached  to  the 
spirits  in  prison,  and  I  see  reason  to  hope,  that  since  the  Gospel 
was  thus  once  preached  "  to  them  that  were  dead,"  the  offers  of 
God's  mercy  may  in  some  form  be  extended  to  the  soul,  even  after 
death.  I  believe  as  Christ  has  said,  that  all  manner  of  sin  shall 
be  forgiven  unto  men,  and  their  blasphemies  however  greatly  they 
shall  blaspheme,  and  that  as  there  is  but  one  sin  of  which  he  said, 
that  it  should  not  be  forgiven  neither  in  this  world  nor  the  next, 
there  must  be  some  sins,  which  will  be  forgiven  in  the  next  as  well 
as  this.  Men  do  not  pass  direct  from  life  to  hell  or  heaven,  but  to 
a  place  in  which  God's  merciful  dealings  with  them  are  not  yet 
necessarily  finished,  where  his  mercy  may  still  reach  them  in  the 
form,  if  not  of  probation,  yet  of  preparation.  As  even  Saints  are 
not  perfect,  but  are  still  sinners,  so  even  sinners  are  very  rarel)' — 
perhaps  never  fixed,  finished  and  incurable  in  sin,  when  seized  by 
their  mortal  sickness."  The  only  difference  between  the  purgatory 
of  Canon  Farrar  and  that  of  the  Church  of  Rome  is,  that  the  former 
is  for  impenitent  sinners,  the  latter  for  saints,  who  are  saved  yet  so 
as  by  fire.  Their  salvation  is  not  without  pain.  They  undergo  the 
pain  of  fire  and  are  thus  purified. 

The  arguments  adduced  in  favor  of  Purgatory  are  chiefly  taken 
from  the  Fathers,  the  Councils,  and  the  Liturgies  of  the  Church,  the 
Apocryphal  writings,  and  certain  passages  of  Scripture.  It  is  only 
with  the  latter  that  we  can  briefly  deal  at  present. 

Acts,  chap.  2nd,  v.  27  :  "  Because  thou  wilt  not  leave  my  soul 
in  hell,  neither  wilt  thou  suffer  thine  Holy  one  to  sec  corruption." 


PURGATORY.  23 1 

This,  it  is  maintained,  proves  the  existence  of  Purgatory,  and  is 
descriptive  of  the  intermediate  state  where  Christ  sojourned  for  a 
time  after  his  death  upon  the  cross.  But  Christ's  own  language 
before  he  died — "  Father,  into  thy  hands  I  commend  my  spirit" — 
and  the  words  spoken  to  the  dying  malefactor,  "  To-day  shalt  thou 
be  with  me  in  paradise,"  are  certainly,  whatever  they  may  mean, 
not  applicable  to  Purgatorial  fires. 

1st  Corinthians,  chap.  3rd,  v.  1 1-15  :  "  For  other  foundation  can 
no  man  lay  than  that  is  laid,  which  is  Jesus  Christ.  Now  if  any 
man  build  upon  this  foundation  gold,  silver,  precious  stones,  wood, 
hay,  stubble  ;  Every  man's  work  shall  be  made  manifest  ;  for  the 
day  shall  declare  it,  because  it  shall  be  revealed  by  fire  ;  and  the 
fire 'shall  try  every  man's  work  of  what  sort  it  is.  If  any  man's 
work  abide  which  he  hath  built  thereupon,  he  shall  receive  a  reward. 
If  any  man's  work  shall  be  burned,  he  shall  suffer  loss  ;  but  he  him- 
self shall  be  saved,  yet  so  as  by  fire."  That  men  are  saved  through 
fire,  it  is  argued,  proves  the  doctrine  of  Purgatory.  But  the  Apostle, 
it  should  be  observed,  says  the  fire  shall  TRY  EVERY  MAN'S  WORK. 
Purgatory  is  not  for  testing  or  trying,  but  for  purifying,  and  that 
only  for  such  as  die  in  a  state  of  grace.  The  fire  spoken  of  is  not 
a  state  preceding  the  judgment,  but  the  judgment  itself:  it  is  that 
fire  in  the  midst  of  which  Jesus  Christ  is  to  appear.  If  the  material 
used  by  any  builder  does  not  stand  the  test  of  that  day,  he  will 
suffer  loss,  but  he  himself  shall  be  saved,  yet  so  as  by  fire.  "Just 
as  a  man  escapes  with  his  life,  from  a  burning  building,  so  his  sal- 
vation will  not  only  be  affected  with  difficulty,  but  be  attended  with 
great  loss.  He  will  occupy  a  lower  place  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven 
than  he  would  have  done."  "Saved  so  as  by  fire,"  is  a  figurative 
expression,  analagous  to  that  found  in  Zechariah,  where  Joshua  is 
represented  as  a  brand  plucked  out  of  the  burning.  In  order  to 
make  such  a  passage  teach  the  doctrine  of  Purgatory,  we  must  con- 
tend that  Joshua  was  literally  a  brand,  and  plucked  out  of  the  pains 
and  fires  of  Purgatory  ! 


232  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

Ephcsians  chap.  4th,  v.  9.  "  Now  that  he  ascended,  what  is  it 
hut  that  he  also  descended  first  into  the  lower  part  of  the  earth." 
The  fact  that  the  soul  of  Christ  was  in  the  unseen  world,  between 
death  and  resurrection,  even  admitting  this  to  be  the  meaning  of 
the  Apostle,  is  surely  a  slender  basis  upon  which  to  rest  the  doc- 
trine of  purgator)'.  But  it  is  very  doubtful,  if  this  is  what  the 
Apostle  means  by  the  phrase  "  the  lower  parts  of  the  earth."  The 
language  is  as  often  used  simply  for  the  earth  in  opposition  to 
heaven,  as  it  is  for  Hades,  or  the  invisible  world.  To  suppose  that 
the  reference  is  to  Christ's  descending  into  hell,  is  not  in  accord- 
ance with  the  passage,  of  which  the  verse  quoted  forms  a  part. 
The  descent  of  which  the  verse  speaks  is  contrasted  with  the  ascent 
into  heaven.  The  form  of  expression  used  is  found  in  other  parts 
of  Scripture,  with  no  reference  whatever  to  the  invisible  world  ;  as 
for  example  in  John  3.  v.  13,  "No  man  hath  ascended  to  heaven, 
but  he  that  came  down  from  heaven,  even  the  Son  of  Man  which 
is  in  heaven."  The  language  used  by  the  Apostle,  "  the  lower  parts 
of  the  earth"  just  means  "  the  earth."  He  that  descended  to  the 
earth,  and  became  Man,  is  the  same  who  has  ascended  far  above 
all  heavens,  that  he  might  fill  all  things. 

ist  Peter,  chap.  3rd,  v.  18-20.  "For  Christ  also  hath  once  suf- 
fered for  sins,  the  just  for  the  unjust,  that  he  might  bring  us  to 
God,  being  put  to  death  in  the  flesh,  but  quickened  by  the  spirit : 
By  which  also  he  went  and  preached  unto  the  spirits  in  prison  : 
which  sometimes  were  disobedient,  when  once  the  long  suffering  of 
God,  waited  in  the  days  of  Noah,  while  the  ark  was  a  preparing, 
wherein  (ew,  that  is  eight  souls  were  saved  by  water."  This  pass- 
age is  confessedly  difficult  of  interpretation,  but  it  is  only  by  an 
exceedingly  forced  one,  that  it  can  give  countenance  to  the  doctrine 
of  purgatory,  and  [jurificalion  after  death.  Those  who  died  in  the 
days  of  Noah  were  guilty  of  mortal  sins  ;  but  purgatory  is  for 
venial,  not  for  mortal  sins,  and  therefore  whatever  the  passage 
teaches,  it  cannot  give  countenance  to  such  a  place.     For  the  dif- 


PURGATORY.  233 

ferent  opinions  held  concerning  the  Apostle's  language,  we  refer 
the  reader  to  the  notes  appended  to  this  chapter,  with  this  simple 
remark,  that  the  interpretation  given  by  commentators  of  the  last 
century  seems  to  us  quite  as  reasonable  as  those  of  more  modern 
theologians  of  the  orthodox  school.  The  view  taken  by  Arch- 
bishop Leighton  and  by  Bishop  Pearson  (in  his  work  on  the  Creed) 
was,  that  the  preaching  spoken  of  was  not  by  the  Lord's  own  spirit, 
but  by  the  Holy  Spirit,  referred  to  in  the  i8th  verse,  as  the  author 
of  the  new  life.  All  the  preaching  of  divine  mercy  is  represented 
as  being  the  preaching  of  Christ  by  his  Holy  Spirit,  even  that 
which  the  antedeluvians  enjoyed  through  Noah  :  and  the  spirits 
of  those  who  were  then  disobedient  to  the  call  of  grace  are  repre- 
sented as  now,  after  the  lapse  of  so  long  a  time  in  prison.  If  such 
a  view  be  correct,  it  puts  an  end  to  the  assumption  that  Christ  de- 
scended into  hell  and  preached  to  the  lost  spirits. 

With  one  passage  more  we  close  this  discussion  of  Purgatory  : 

Matthew,  chap.  12,  v.  31-32  :  "Wherefore  I  say  unto  you,  all 
manner  of  sin  and  blasphemy  shall  be  forgiven  unto  men  :  but  the 
blasphemy  against  the  Holy  Ghost  shall  not  be  forgiven  unto  men. 
And  whosoever  speaketh  a  word  against  the  Son  of  man  it  shall  be 
forgiven  him  :  but  whosoever  speaketh  against  the  Holy  Ghost,  it 
shall  not  be  forgiven  him,  neither  in  this  world,  neither  in  the  world 
to  come."  Cardinal  Wiseman  and  other  Romish  writers  cite  this, 
as  teaching  the  doctrine  in  question  :  that  the  sin  against  the  Holy 
Spirit  shall  never  be  forgiven,  either  in  this  world  or  in  the  world  to 
come,  but  argue  that  it  implies  that  there  are  sins  not  forgiven  in 
this  life  WHICH  MAY  BE  FORGIVEN  HEREAFTER,  and  therefore  the 
dead,  or  at  least  a  part  of  the  dead,  are  not  past  forgiveness  when 
they  die.  But  surely,  as  has  been  conclusively  shown  by  Dr.  Hodge 
in  his  Theology,  this  is  a  slender  thread  on  which  to  hang  so  great 
a  weight.  The  words  of  Christ  contain  no  such  implication.  Christ 
simply  says,  that  blasphemy  against  the  Holy  Ghost  can  never  be 


234  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

forgiven.  Such  a  presumptuous  and  daring  sin  can  under  no  pos- 
sible circumstances  be  pardoned  here  or  hereafter. 

In  regard,  then,  to  all  such  pleadings  for  some  kind  of  Purgatory, 
whether  held  by  the  Romish  Church  or  by  certain  professedly  Pro- 
testant writers,  we  conclude  :  that  our  Lord's  language  gives  no 
countenance  to  any  intermediate  state,  where  men  may  be  purified 
from  sins  committed  in  the  body  and  unpardoned  at  death  :  that 
the  Scriptures  are  silent  in  regard  to  such  a  state  between  death 
and  the  judgment :  that  while  certain  inferences  may  be  drawn 
from  isolated  texts,  there  is  nothing  to  warrant  such  a  doctrine  :  and 
finally,  that  it  is  in  direct  antagonism  to  the  fundamental  beliefs  of 
the  Christian  Church.  Pardon  and  sanctification  are  everywhere 
stated  in  the  word  of  God,  as  the  work  of  grace.  Perfection  is 
attained  at  death,  and  not  due  to  purgatorial  fires.  As  has  been 
well  said  by  Mr.  Cheyne  Brady,  in  a  recent  tract  on  Repentance  : 

"  The  Neapolitan  preacher,  who,  five  times  over  in  the  course  of 
his  sermon,  flagellates  himself  with  handsful  of  iron  chains  ;  the 
crowds  who  periodically  scourge  themselves  with  knotted  thongs  in 
the  darkened  chapels  in  Italy  ;  the  Irish  peasant  who  makes  his 
weary  pilgrimage  to  the  supposed  holy  well  ;  the  monk  who  ema- 
ciates himself  with  penitential  fasting  ;  the  Mahommedan  who  pain- 
fully observes  the  rigorous  Ramadan  ;  the  Hindoo  who  drags  him- 
self on  hands  and  knees,  or  walks  on  spiked  sandals  hundreds  of 
miles  ;  as  well  as  the  Protestant,  who  prescribes  to  himself  a  certain 
round  of  prayers  and  fastings,  and  penitential  tears,  with  a  view  of 
expiating  his  sin  ;  all  alike  confound  repentance  with  penance,  set 
up  salvation  by  human  WORKS  and  human  SUFFERINGS,  in  place 
of  salvation  by  GRACE  ;  ignore  the  enormity  of  the  guilt  of  sin,  and 
the  awful  truth  that  everlasting  destruction  is  its  ONLY  due  reward  ; 
and  deny  their  need  of  a  substitute  as  well  as  the  atoning  power  of 
the  Cross  of  Christ." 

But  what,  it  may  be  asked,  is  the  SiN  AGAINST  THE  HOLY 
Gho.ST  ?     Certain  commentators  insist  that  it  is  not  the  Holy  Ghost 


PURGATORY,  235 

as  the  third  person  of  the  Trinity  that  is  referred  to  in  the  last  pas- 
sage quoted,  but  the  DIVINE  NATURE  in  Christ,  and  that  the 
antithesis  is  between  contemptuous  disparagement  of  Christ  as  he 
appeared  in  his  humiliation,  and  the  same  treatment  of  him  when 
his  character  and  mission  were  attested  by  the  Holy  Ghost.  To 
say  a  word  against  him  when  his  Godhead  was  veiled,  and  as  it 
were  in  abeyance,  was  a  very  different  offense  from  speaking  with 
contempt  and  malice  of  the  Holy  Ghost  in  his  clearest  manifesta- 
tions, especially  those  furnished  by  the  words  and  works  of  Christ. 

But  are  there  not  good  reasons,  taking  the  language  in  its  ordi- 
nary acceptation,  why  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  is  said  to  be 
unpardonable?  In  order  to  answer  the  question,  we  must  first 
consider  the  special  work  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  then  try  to  understand 
in  what  this  heinous  sin  consists,  and  who  are  in  danger  of  com- 
mitting it. 

The  personality  of  the  Holy  Ghost  is  held  by  all  evangelical 
churches.     The  Bible  is  full  of  proofs. 

(a)  All  the  elements  of  personality  are  ascribed  to  him — intelli- 
gence, will,  action. 

(b)  Personal  acts  are  ascribed  to  him.  He  is  Teacher,  Witness, 
Revealer  and  Ruler. 

(c)  The  personal  pronoun  is  always  ascribed  to  him  in  scripture. 

(d)  The  same  titles  are  always  given  him,  as  are  given  to  God 

(e)  Perfections,  inseparable  from  personality,  are  ascribed  to  him 
— such  as  omnipotence  and  omniscience. 

In  the  form  of  baptism,  he  is  associated  with  the  Father  and  the 
Son  as  distinct  persons.  We  are  baptized  in  his  name,  and  brought 
into  such  relationship  with  him  as  implies  personality.  In  the 
Apostolic  benediction  he  is  associated  with  the  Father  and  the  Son. 
He  is  the  object  of  prayer,  and  we  enjoy  fellowship  with  him.  It 
is  only,  indeed,  by  admitting  the  personality  of  the  Holy  Spirit, 
that  we   can   rationally  interpret   scripture.      Everywhere  we  are 


236  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

represented  as  dealing  with  a  person — not  an  indefinable  shadowy 
effluence,  but  a  being  possessed  of  feelings  and  emotions,  not  alto- 
gether like,  but  analagous  to  ours. 

(a)  He  is  the  source  of  all  life,  and  the  efficient  of  the  Godhead. 
He  created  the  world  and  garnished  the  heavens. 

(b)  He  is  the  source  of  all  spiritual  life.  He  quickens  those 
that  are  dead  in  trespasses  and  sins.  He  applies  Christ's  redemp- 
tion to  our  souls,  and  makes  it  effectual  for  salvation. 

(c)  He  is  a  Teacher.  He  takes  of  the  things  of  Christ,  and 
shows  them  unto  us.  He  sanctifies  through  the  truth.  He  in- 
structs  in  the  things  of  the  Kingdom — shows  us  our  own  character, 
and  reveals  to  us  God's  infinite  goodness  and  grace. 

(d)  He  is  the  author  of  all  holy  thoughts — the  inspirer  of  all 
effective  prayer.  He  helps  our  infirmities,  with  groanings  which 
cannot  be  uttered. 

(e)  He  is  the  source  of  all  consolation — The  Comforter  who 
comforteth  us  in  all  our  tribulations. 

(f)  He  is  to  raise  this  fallen  tabernacle  at  the  last  day — change 
it  into  a  glorified  body,  and  animate  it  with  a  sinless  soul. 

Such  in  brief  is  the  work  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  We  cannot  ex- 
plain his  operations.  We  only  know  that  he  operates  powerfully 
on  the  world  within,  and  the  world  without.  He  incites  to  good 
and  restrains  from  evii.  He  helps  to  form  and  carry  out  good  reso- 
lutions. He  inspires  with  devotional  feelings — imparts  childlike 
graces — frees  from  the  bondage  of  sin,  and  delivers  into  the  glorious 
liberty  of  the  children  of  God.  He  strengthens  believers  in  their 
earthly  pilgrimage,  by  glowing  anticipations  of  heaven,  when  his 
work  shall  be  completed,  and  believers  shall  be  presented  faultless 
before  the  Father's  throne. 

Many  persons  suffer  great  anguish  of  mind,  lest  they  have  com- 
mitted the  unpardonable  sin,  or  the  sin   against   the   Holy  Ghost. 


PURGATORY.  237 

Sometimes  the  fear  becomes  a  perfect  mania,  and  leads  to  the  most 
terrible  forms  of  insanity.  It  is  well,  therefore,  that  we  should  un- 
derstand, if  at  all  possible,  in  what  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost 
consists. 

The  general  opinion  entertained  regarding  it  is,  that  it  consists 
in  some  one  flagrant  act  of  wickedness.  "  I  say  unto  you,  all  sins 
shall  be  forgiven  unto  the  sons  of  men,  and  blasphemies  wherewith- 
soever  they  shall  blaspheme :  but  he  that  shall  blaspheme  against 
the  Holy  Ghost  hath  never  forgiveness,  but  is  in  danger  of  eternal 
damnation." 

From  this  it  would  appear,  that  a  single  sin  committed  in  a 
single  instant  of  time,  may  be  so  heinous  in  its  character,  and  so 
infinite  in  its  character,  as  to  place  a  man  beyond  the  possibility  ot 
repentance  or  salvation.  But  while  this  has  been  the  popular 
opinion,  no  religious  teacher  or  commentator  has  ever  been  able 
definitely  to  say  in  what  the  sin  consists.  Much  has  been  written 
upon  the  subject  by  learned  men  of  every  age,  but  their  conclusions 
are  so  widely  different,  that  the  theological  world  and  the  public 
mind  have  as  yet  come  to  no  precise  understanding,  as  to  what  is 
meant  by  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost.  And  yet  there  is  almost 
unanimity  of  sentiment  regarding  this  truth,  that  a  man  may  pass 
into  a  condition  of  soul,  when  pardon  and  restoration  to  God's  favor 
are  impossible. 

Without  pretending  to  be  wise  above  what  is  written,  there  are 
those  who  hold  that  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  consists,  not  in 
any  one  flagrant  act  of  transgression,  but  that  it  is  the  final  devel- 
opment of  a  long  course  of  resistance,  and  stubborn  impenitence. 
It  is  a  state  of  heart,  which  produces  conduct  unpardonable  in  the 
sight  of  God.  The  Bible  nowhere  speaks  of  any  single  action  of  a 
spiritual  nature,  that  blasts  men's  hopes  for  eternity  ;  but  just  as 
there  are  chronic  diseases  of  the  body,  that  after  years  of  growth 
become  incurable  and  produce  death,  so  the  entire  mental  and  emo- 


238  FUTUKI-:    PUNISHMENT. 

tional  forces  of  the  mind  may  become  so  perverted  and  poisoned 
by  sinful  courses,  and  repeated  acts  of  wrong-doing,  as  to  make 
repentance  impossible. 

The  Holy  Spirit  strives  with  all  men,  but  his  strivings  do  not 
last  for  ever.  There  is  a  limit  to  his  longsuffering  and  forbearance, 
lie  waits  long,  but  He  does  not  promise  to  remain  waiting  forever. 

"  God's  spirit  will  not  always  strive 

With  hardened  self-destroying  man  ; 
Ve  who  persist  His  love  to  grieve, 

May  never  hear  His  voice  again. 
Sinner,  perhaps  this  very  day 

Thy  last  accepted  time  may  be  ; 
Oh,  should'st  thou  grieve  Him  now  away, 

Then  hope  may  never  beam  on  thee." 

Now  in  the  case  of  men  who  have  committed  the  unpardonable 
sin,  according  to  this  theory,  there  is,  First,  a  grieving  of  the  Holy 
Spirit.  His  gracious  invitations  and  solicitations  come  to  all  men 
at  some  period  of  life — either  through  the  ordinary  channels  of 
grace,  or  the  religious  training  of  pious  parents,  or  special  provi- 
dences which  arrest  attention  and  compel  reflection.  When  these 
are  despised  or  unheeded,  the  first  stage  is  passed  that  leads  to  the 
unpardonable  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost. 

Then  Secondly,  there  is  a  resisting  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  This  is 
an  advance  on  the  former.  Stronger  means  are  now  used  to  awaken 
the  sinner  to  a  sense  of  his  sin,  but  the  heart  becomes  more  obdu- 
rate, in  proportion  to  the  efforts  put  forth  to  lead  him  to  repent- 
ance. It  is  now  easier  to  resist  than  to  grieve.  Conscience  sleeps 
peacefully,  although  all  the  thunders  of  Sinai  played  around  it. 
And  this  marks  the  second  stage  of  insensibility,  that  leads  to  the 
unpardonable  sin. 

Then  Thirdly,  there  is  quenching  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  which  is 
not  mere  passive  apathy  and  indifference,  but  positive  hatred.  The 
evil  powers  within  the  man's  soul   now  combine.     There  is  an  up- 


cmented  souls  in  fiery  tombs,  left  opeu   ill  after  the  Last  Judgmeut. 


— The  Infernj  Canto  x. 


PURGATORY.  239 

rising — a  strong  united  effort, — not  merely  to  resist  holy  influences 
and  good  impressions,  but  to  conquer  every  conviction,  and  so 
wound  and  foil  the  Holy  Spirit  in  all  his  gracious  overtures,  that  he 
shall  not  trouble  the  man  again.  And  when  the  Holy  Spirit  is 
thus  quenched — stifled— overborne,  the  third  stage  is  reached  to- 
wards the  unpardonable  sin. 

Then  Fourthly,  and  finally,  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  is 
reached.  It  was  of  this  crime  that  Christ  accused  the  Jews.  In 
their  case,  as  in  the  case  of  every  unregenerate  man,  the  last  stage 
in  wickedness  was  reached  by  degrees.  They  first  rejected  Christ, 
and  refused  the  evidence  of  his  Messiahship.  But  this  sin,  terrible 
though  it  was,  might  have  been  forgiven.  But  after  his  ascension, 
the  Holy  Spirit  was  vouchsafed,  ratifying  all  his  claims  to  divinity, 
and  proving  by  Apostolic  miracles  that  indeed  he  was  the  Christ. 
All  this,  however,  did  not  in  the  least  change  the  feeling  and  con- 
duct of  the  Jews.  Instead  of  relenting,  they  blasphemed  the  Holy 
Ghost,  and  ascribed  his  wonderful  manifestations  to  the  Devil,  until 
growing  harder  and  harder  in  heart,  they  were  finally  given  up  by 
the  Almighty  to  believe  a  lie,  and  sealed  their  own  condemnation. 
This  was  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost ; — not  secret  profanation 
of  his  name,  nor  indifference  towards  his  gracious  invitations,  but 
blasphemy  against  that  being,  without  whose  agency  salvation  is 
impossible. 

Such,  it  is  held  by  many,  is  the  nature  of  the  sin  against  the 
Holy  Ghost.  A  malicious  ascription  of  the  Spirit's  agency  to  Satan 
— a  resisting  of  the  truth,  known  to  be  the  truth — and  a  voluntary 
surrender  of  the  heart,  soul  and  life,  to  these  evil  passions,  which, 
unobstructed,  lead  straight  to  hell. 

Why  is  the  Holy  Spirit,  it  may  be  asked,  so  singled  out  from 
the  other  persons  of  the  Godhead,  as  that  being,  against  whom  a 
man  may  so  sin  as  to  ensure  his  final  damnation  ?  Perhaps,  as  has 
been  said,  that  "  as  He  is  the  last  of  the  three  persons  in  the  God- 
head, he    who  sins   past   the   Holy  Ghost,  has   sinned    past   the 


240  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Godhead.  If  we  sin  as^ainst  the  Father,  we  may  be  caught  in  the 
arms  of  the  Son.  If  we  still  sin  against  the  Son,  the  Spirit  may 
possibly  interpose  for  our  rescue.  But  if  we  sin  against  this  last, 
there  remains  behind  no  other,  upon  whose  mercy  and  power  we 
may  fall  back.  Or  it  may  be,  because  the  scheme  of  redemption 
is  assigned  to  the  Spirit  in  its  final  stage,  when  it  comes  to  be 
applied.  He  that  sins  against  the  Father,  sins  against  grace  in  its 
inception:  he  that  sins  against  the  Son,  sins  against  grace  in  its 
execution  ;  but  he  that  sins  against  the  Holy  Spirit,  sins  against 
grace  in  its  application.  He  has  exhausted  all  the  provisions  of 
mercy,  and  has  shot  clean  past  the  only  grace  through  which  he  can 
be  saved."  When  the  Holy  Spirit  has  been  alienated  by  successive 
resistings  and  quenchings,  there  is  no  power  nor  inclination  to 
repent.  Repentance  is  the  gift  of  God,  through  the  working  of  the 
Spirit.  No  sin  would  be  unpardonable  could  it  be  repented  of,  but 
sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  is  unpardonable,  because  it  is  His  work 
to  move  us  to  repentance.  When,  therefore.  He  has  retired  from 
further  striving  with  us,  there  is  no  motive  whatever  to  repentance. 
God's  children  may  grieve  the  Holy  Spirit,  but  can  never  be  guilty 
of  the  unpardonable  sin.  Many,  however,  are  troubled,  lest  they 
have  been  guilty  of  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost.  But  the  very 
fact  that  they  are  afraid  and  alarmed,  lest  they  have  placed  them- 
selves beyond  the  reach  of  mercy,  is  evidence  that  they  are  not 
abandoned.  The  sure  sign  that  a  man  has  committed  the  unpar- 
donable sin,  is  when  there  is  no  feeling  and  no  anxiety — when  the 
soul  is  perfectly  careless  and  unconcerned  as  to  the  future.  When 
men  are  bowed  dcnvn  with  grief  and  sorrow  by  reason  of  their  sins 
and  imperfections,  and  are  daily  reaching  after  a  condition  of  life 
that  seems  almost  hopeless,  the  more  desperate  their  endeavors, — 
there  need  be  no  concern  regarding  this  matter.  Men  who  have 
offended  God  beyond  hope  of  pardon,  are  reckless  and  defiant.  If, 
like  Saul,  they  have  calm  moments,  when  they  feel  that  "  God  has 
departed  from  them,"  it  is  only  the  prelude  to  greater  and  more 
awful  deeds  of  wickedness. 


THE  DANTEAN   THEORY   OF   PHYSICAL 
SUFFERING. 


^^  HE  theory  of  bodily  suffering  throughout  eternal  ages, 
for  sins  committed  during  the  present  life,  may  be  said 
to  have  originated  with  Dante.  As  few,  if  any,  evan- 
gelical Christians  now  retain  it  as  an  article  of  belief, 


■  ^  it  is  needless  by  lengthened  argument  to  refute  it.  The 
^*^  Church  of  Rome,  as  we  have  seen,  while  tacitly  approving 
of  purgatorial  fires,  does  not  commit  itself  to  such  a  view  of  ever- 
lasting punishment.  It  simply  says,  There  is  a  Hell,  and  there 
reprobate  angels  and  lost  men  are  eternally  punished.  Instead  of 
teaching  authoritatively  that  future  punishment  will  be  physical,  it 
merely  asserts  that  it  is  dangerous  to  deny  that  it  will  be  so.  On 
the  other  hand,  the  Hell  of  Dante  is  a  place,  where  punishment  is 
physical  and  real.  His  descriptions  of  future  torment  as  "the  lake 
of  fire  and  brimstone,"  are  not  figurative,  but  literal  and  actual 
representations,  of  the  awful  future  in  store  for  impenitent  souls. 
A  brief  sketch  of  his  life  and  writings,  condensed  from  recent  biog- 
raphies, is  all  that  seems  necessary  to  complete  this  part  of  our 
subject : 

Dante,  or  Durante  Alighieri,  was  born  at  Florence,  in  Ma}', 
1265.  By  a  familiar  contraction  of  his  Christian  name,  Durante, 
he  was   called   Dante,  by  which  name   he  has  become  generally 

known. 

10 


242  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Dante's  father  died  while  he  was  but  a  child.  By  the  advice, 
however,  of  his  surviving  relations,  and  with  the  assistance  of  an 
able  preceptor,  Brunetto  Latini,  he  applied  himself  closely  to  polite 
literature  and  other  liberal  studies,  at  the  same  time  that  he  omitted 
no  pursuit  necessar)-  for  the  accomplishment  of  a  manly  character, 
and  mixed  with  the  )'0uth  of  his  age  in  all  honorable  and  noble 
exercises. 

"  His  education,"  says  Mr.  Carlyle,  "  was  the  best  then  going : 
much  school  divinity,  Aristotelian  logic,  some  Latin  classes,  no  incon- 
siderable insight  into  certain  provinces  of  things  ;  and  Dante,  with 
his  earnest,  intelligent  nature,  learned  better  than  most  all  that  was 
learnable.  He  had  a  clear,  cultivated  understanding,  and  of  great 
subtlety  ;  this  best  fruit  of  education  he  had  contrived  to  realize 
from  these  scholastics.  He  knows  accurately  and  well  what  lies 
close  to  him  ;  but,  in  such  a  time,  without  printed  books  or  free 
intercourse,  he  could  not  well  know  what  was  distant ;  the  small, 
clear  light,  most  luminous  for  what  is  near,  breaks  itself  into  singu- 
lar chiaroscura  striking  on  what  is  far  off.  This  was  Dante's  learn- 
ing from  the  schools." 

The  first  remarkable  event  of  the  poet's  life,  and  one  which 
served  to  color  the  whole  of  his  future  existence,  w^as  his  falling  in 
love  with  Beatrice  Portinari,  of  an  illustrious  family  of  Florence. 
This  attachment  served  to  purify  his  sentiments  ;  the  lady  herself 
died  about  1290,  when  Dante  was  about  twenty-five  years  of  age, 
but  he  continued  to  cherish  her  memory,  if  we  are  to  judge  from 
his  poems,  to  the  latest  period  of  his  life. 

"  There  is  not  one  word,"  remarks  Mrs.  Oliphant,  "  to  imply 
that  Dante  ever  had  the  courage  to  speak  of  love  to  Beatrice  her- 
self, or  to  aspire  to  any  return  of  it  from  one  whom  he  felt  to  be  far 
above  him.  She  knew  it,  as  women  still,  in  less  romantic  days, 
know  now  and  then  of  the  silent  devotion  of  some  man,  too  young, 
or  too  poor,  or  too  humble,  even  to   approach  them    more  nearly. 


a  u 

O    11 

®      1 


DANTEAN   THEORY  OF   PHYSICAL   SUFFERING.  243 

The  sentiment  is  not  obsolete,  though  it  has  never  produced  another 
Vita  Nuova.  It  is  love  in  its  highest  and  most  beautiful  sense,  but 
it  is  incompatible  with  any  idea  of  marrying  or  asking  in  marriage  ; 
and  even  the  pang  with  which  the  lover  sees  his  lady  another  man's 
bride,  is  rather  a  wounded  sense  of  some  lessening  of  her  perfection 
thereby,  than  the  ordinary  pangs  of  jealousy.  This  is,  of  course,  a 
sentiment  incomprehensible  to  many  minds,  but  it  is  not  the  less  a 
real  one  on  that  account." 

His  political  life  in  that  troublous  age  and  the  prominent  part 
he  took  in  public  affairs  :  his  exile  and  return  to  Florence,  are  mat- 
ters foreign  to  our  purpose.  His  earlier  works  "  The  Vita  Nuova" 
in  which  he  gives  an  account  of  his  youthful  attachment  to  Beatrice, 
and  "  The  Convito,"  a  sort  of  hand-book  of  universal  knowledge 
and  philosophy,  composed  as  a  means  of  consolation  to  his  soul, 
after  the  death  of  Beatrice,  are  now  but  little  known,  compared 
with  "The  Divine  Commedia"  comprising  "The  Inferno"  "The 
Purgatorio  "  and  "  The  Paradiso."  The  time  of  the  action  of  the 
poem  is  strictly  confined  to  the  end  of  March  and  the  beginning  of 
April,  1300.  It  is  likely  that  it  was  begun  shortly  after  this  date. 
In  the  Inferno,  xix.  79,  allusion  is  made  to  the  decease  of  Pope 
Clement  V.,  an  event  which  happened  in  13 14.  This  probably 
marks  the  date  of  the  completion  of  this  cantica.  The  PURGA- 
TORIO  was  finished  before  1 3 1 8,  at  which  date  the  Paradiso  had 
yet  to  be  written.  The  last  cantos  of  the  Paradiso  were  probably 
not  completed  till  just  before  the  poet's  death. 

There  are  numerous  translations  in  English  of  the  Divine 
Comedy.  Perhaps  the  best  known,  and  the  one  which  has  most 
steadily  held  its  ground,  is  that  of  Carey,  which,  though  somewhat 
turgid  in  its  long  strain  of  blank  verse,  and  giving  no  idea  of  the 
triple  rhyme  of  the  original,  is  in  the  main  good  and  faithful.  Other 
translations,  each  with  its  excellent  points,  have  been  made  by 
Messrs.    Wright,    Cayley,    Rossetti,    and    recently  by   Longfellow 


244  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

and  Mrs.  Ramsay.  Most  striking  of  all  is  the  literal  prose  trans- 
lation of  Dr.  Carlyle,  who  unfortunately  did  not  get  beyond  the 
Inferno. 

Dante's  DiviNA  Commedia  is  one  of  the  few  works  of  imagin- 
ation which  have  stood  the  test  of  ages,  and  which  will  pass  down 
to  the  remotest  generations.  It  resembles  no  other  poem  ;  it  is 
not  an  epic  ;  it  consists  of  descriptions,  dialogues,  and  didactic 
precepts.  It  is  a  vision  of  the  realms  of  eternal  punishment,  of 
expiation,  and  of  bliss,  in  the  invisible  world  beyond  death.  Its 
beauties  are  scattered  about  with  a  lavish  hand  in  the  form  of  epis- 
odes, similitudes,  vivid  descriptions,  and,  above  all,  sketches  of  the 
deep  workings  of  the  human  heart. 

It  is  especially  in  this  last  department  of  poetic  painting  that 
Dante  excels,  whether  he  describes  the  harrowed  feelings  of  the 
wretched  father,  or  the  self-devotedness  of  the  lover,  or  the  melting 
influence  of  the  sound  of  the  evening  bell  on  the  mariners  and  the 
pilgrim  ;  whether  he  paints  the  despair  of  the  reprobate  souls  gath- 
ered together  on  the  banks  of  Acheron,  cursing  God  and  the  authors 
of  their  being,  or  the  milder  sorrow  of  the  repentant,  chanting  the 
"  Miserere  "  along  their  wearisome  way  through  the  regions  of  pur- 
gatory, he  displays  his  mastery  over  the  human  feelings,  and  his 
knowledge  of  those  chords  that  vibrate  deepest  in  the  heart  of  man. 
No  other  writer  except  Shakspeare  can  be  compared  to  Dante  in 
this  respect.     His  touches  are  few,  but  they  all  tell. 

Dante  was  a  sincere  Catholic  ;  in  his  poem  he  places  the  heretics 
in  hell,  and  Dominic  in  Paradise,  and  manifestly  shows  everywhere 
his  belief  in  the  dogmas  of  the  Romish  Church  ;  but  he  attacks  its 
discipline,  or  rather,  the  relaxation  of  its  discipline.  He  urges,  like 
Petrarch  and  other  Catholic  writers  of  that  and  the  following  ages, 
the  necessity  of  a  reform,  and  above  all  of  a  total  separation  of  the 
spiritual  from  the  temporal  authority,  things  generally  confounded 
by  the  Roman  canonists. 


Heretics  punished   in  tonnbs  burning  with  intense  fire. 


^The  Infsrno  Canto 


dantean  theorv  of  physical  cuffering.  245 

The  Inferno 

In  the  opening-  of  the  Inferno,  the  poet  imagines  himself  at  the 
gates  of  hell,  about  to  explore  its  untold  terrors.  Through  the 
intercession  of  Beatrice,  his  glorified  mistress,  he  has  been  allowed 
this  unusual  privilege.  The  poet  Virgil  has  been  selected  as  his 
attendant  and  protector.  And  thus,  in  Easter-week  of  the  year 
1300,  the  modern  Orpheus  approaches  the  mouth  of  the  yawnit^ 
pit,  which  is  entered  by  a  single  door.  Above  the  entrance  are 
written  the  ominous  words  : 

"  Through  me  you  pass  into  the  city  of  woe  : 

Through  me  you  pass  into  eternal  pain  : 

Through  me  among  the  people  lost  for  aye. 
*  *  *  * 

All  hope  abandon  ye,  who  enter  here." 

The  Inferno  is  painted  by  the  poet  as  a  vast  cone  or  pit  which 
penetrates  to  the  centre  of  the  earth.  It  is  divided  into  seven  cir- 
cles or  spheres,  the  lowest  being  the  abodes  of  the  most  guilty,  and 
the  scene  of  the  most  fearful  punishments.  In  the  deepest  circle, 
at  the  centre  of  the  earth,  is  seen  Satan,  half  buried  in  a  sea  of  ice, 
and  flapping  his  six  terrible  wings  in  his  vain  efforts  to  escape  from 
eternal  woe.  But  there  is  no  hope  for  the  lost.  Despair  sits  upon 
every  countenance  ;  sighs,  lamentations,  moans,  resound  through 
the  horrible  abode.  A  crash  of  thunder  strikes  Dante  insensible  as 
he  enters  ;  but  the  memory  of  Beatrice  and  the  encouragement  of 
Virgil  enables  him  persist  in  his  design.  In  vain  the  wild  demons 
rush  upon  him  to  tear  him  to  pieces,  in  vain  the  flames  rise  around 
him  or  the  sulphurous  smoke  ascends,  so  long  as  Beatrice  is  his 
protestor.  In  the  different  circles  he  meets  many  of  his  former 
friends  or  foes,  who  recognize  his  Tuscan  accent,  and  ask  for  news 
from  the  upper  world,  or  explain  to  him  for  what  crimes  they  have 
been  condemned  to  endless  woe.  The  various  punishments  of  the 
lost  imagined  by  the  poet  are  wonderful  examples  of  his  originality. 
The  guilty  are  enclosed  in  blazing  tombs,  bitten  by  poisonous  ser- 


246  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

pents,  scorched  by  fiery  rain  ;  are  compelled  to  gnaw  and  devour 
each  other;  are  plunged  in  pools  of  blood,  half  suffocated,  and  are 
then  suddenly  withdrawn  ;  are  pierced  by  the  darts  of  centaurs,  or 
chained  to  eternal  icebergs. 

One  or  two  specimens  taken  almost  at  random  from  "  The 
Inferno,"  will  give  the  reader  some  faint  idea  of  the  ghastly  pictures 
drawn  by  Dante,  of  the  lost  in  hell : 

"Here  sighs  with  lamentations  and  loud  moans, 
Resounded  through  the  air  pierced  by  no  star. 
That  e'en  I  wept  at  entering,  various  tongues, 
Horrible  languages,  Outcries  of  woe. 
Accents  of  anger,  voices  deep  and  hoarse, 
With  hands  together  smote  that  swell'd  the  sounds. 
Made  up  a  tumult,  that  forever  whirls 
Round  through  that  air  with  solid  darkness  stain'd, 
Like  to  the  sand  that  in  the  whirlwind  flies." 

"Woe  to  you,  wicked  spirits  !  hope  not 
Ever  to  see  the  sky  again.     I  come 
To  take  you  to  the  other  shore  across 
Into  eternal  darkness,  there  to  dwell 
In  fierce  heat  and  ice." 

"O'er  all  the  sand,  fell  slowly  wafting  down 
Dilated  flakes  of  fire,  as  flakes  of  snow 
On  Alpine  summit,  when  the  wind  is   hushed. 
As,  in  torrid  Indian  clime,  the  son 
Of  Ammon  saw,  upon  his  warrior  band 
Descending,  solid  flames,  that  to  the  ground 
Came  down ;  *  *  * 

So  fell  the  eternal  fiery  flood,  wherewith 
The  marie  glow'd  underneath,  as  under  stove 
The  viands,  doubly  to  augment  the  pain. 
Unceasing  was  the  play  of  wretched  hands, 
Now  this,  now  that  way  glancing,  to  shake  off 
The  heat,  still  falling  fresh." 

"Amid  this  dread  exuberance  of  woe. 
Ran  naked  spirits  wing'd  with  horrid  fear. 
Nor  hope  had  they  of  crevice  where  to  hide. 
With  serpents  were  their  hands  behind  them  bound, 


DANTEAN    THEORY   OF   THYSICAL   SUFFERING.  247 

Which  through  their  veins  infixed  the  tail  and  head 

Twisted  in  folds  before.     And,  lo  !  on  one 

Near  to  our  side,  darted  an  adder  up, 

And,  where  the  neck  is  on  the  shoulders  tied. 

Transpierced  him.     Far  more  quickly  than  e'en  pen 

Wrote  O  or  I,  he  kindled,  burn'd,  and  changed 

To  ashes  all,  pour'd  out  upon  the  earth. 

When  there  dissolved  he  lay,  the  dust  again 

Uproll'd  spontaneous,  and  the  selfsame  form 

Instant  resumed.     So  mighty  sages  tell, 

The  Arabian  Phoenix,  when  five  hundred  years 

Have  well  nigh  circled,  dies,  and  springs  forthwith 

Renascent :" 

*  *  "As  one  that  falls, 

He  knows  not  how,  by  force  demoniac  dragg'd 
To  earth,  or  through  obstruction  fettering  up 
In  chains  invisible  to  the  powers  of  man, 
Who,  risen  from  his  trance,  gazeth  around. 
Bewildered  with  the  monstrous  agony 
He  hath  indured,  and  wildly  staring  sighs : 
So  stood  aghast  the  sinner  when  he  rose. 
Oh  !  how  severe  God's  judgment,  that  deals  out, 
Such  blows  in  stormy  vcngence  !" 

Dore  has  lately  given  to  the  world  his  illustration  of  the  In- 
ferno, but  even  that  inventive  artist  has  failed  to  reproduce  the 
wonderful  variety  of  Dante,  and  his  pictures  seem  almost  tame  and 
commonplace  compared  to  the  profuse  novelty  of  the  original. 

The  Purgatorio. 

The  Purgatorio,  which  follows  the  Inferno,  is  less  vigorous,  but 
still  wonderfully  poetical.  Dante  escapes  through  a  passage  that 
leads  from  the  lowest  sphere  into  Purgatory.  As  the  Inferno  was 
represented  as  a  conical  pit  penetrating  into  the  centre  of  the  earth, 
Purgatory  is  painted  as  a  tall  mountain  whose  top  ascends  towards 
heaven.  Its  interior  is  divided  into  many  spheres,  and  as  the 
period  of  purgation  passes,  the  spirits  of  the  elect  rise  upward,  and 
are  led  by  angels  to  the  celestial  world  above.  When  it  is  an- 
nounced by  the  angels  that  a  soul  has  escaped  to   heaven,  all    Pur- 


24^  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

gatoiy  rings  with  exclamations  of  joy.  Tiie  characteristic  trait  o( 
hell  was  despair,  that  of  Purgatory  is  hope.  The  torments  of  Pur- 
gatory resemble  those  of  the  Inferno,  but  they  are  borne  with 
patience,  because  they  lead  to  eternal  bliss.  Angelic  resignation 
sits  on  every  countenance,  and  a  throng  of  elect,  slowly  purging 
their  sins  away  in  the  ages  of  contrition,  meets  the  poet's  eye  as  he 
ascends  from  sphere  to  sphere. 

The  Paradiso. 

At  last  the  prospect  of  heaven  opens  upon  him.  Led  by 
Beatrice,  he  views  the  thrones  of  the  Immortals  and  the  seats  of 
perpetual  bliss.  Paradise,  too  has  its  ascending  spheres,  rising 
from  the  moon  to  the  limits  of  the  stars  and  the  centre  of  the  uni- 
verse. Dante  rises  upward  amidst  the  songs  of  rejoicing  spirits 
and  scenes  of  endless  joy.  There  he  sees  the  martyred  saints  who 
have  suffered  on  earth,  now  clad  in  their  robes  of  triumph  ;  there 
are  meek  women  and  lowly  men,  who  on  earth  were  forgotten,  now 
raised  above  kings  and  princes  ;  there  are  holy  anchorites  and 
faithful  monks,  who  on  earth  fed  on  herbs  and  roots,  and  were 
clothed  in  coarse  attire,  now  radiant  with  the  gems  of  the  New 
Jerusalem,  and  fed  with  the  viands  of  Paradise  ;  there  are  St  Mark, 
St.  Peter,  St.  John,  and  all  the  holy  band  of  the  apostles,  who  by 
serving  the  Master  so  faithfully  on  earth  have  become  the  princes 
and  rulers  of  heaven.  And  there  at  length,  in  the  highest  sphere, 
Dante  is  permitted  to  gaze  upon  the  Almighty  Creator,  the  source 
of  love  and  purity,  the  mind  by  which  all  things  are  moved,  the 
mdiant  centre  of  light,  the  ineffable  Divine,  the  ruler  of  the  heart, 
the  victor  of  the  skies,  whose  fallen  foe  the  poet  had  not  long  ago 
beheld  flapping  his  vulture  wings  in  the  icy   fetters  of  the  Inferno. 

The  Character  of  Dante's  Geniu.s. 

The  character  of  Dante's  genius  has  been  well  described  by  Mr. 
Oscar  Browning,  in  the  ninth  edition  of  the  "Encyclopaedia  Britan- 
nica."     '"Dante,"  says  Mr.  Browning,  "may  be  said   to  have  con- 


Beatuce,  transfigmed  aii'l  <i;loiih('(l  descending  from  heaven  appears  to  the  Poet,  after  he  lias 
passed  through,  the  cleai*siug  hie  of  purgatoiy.  — The  Vision  of  Purgatory,  Canto  xxx. 


DANTEAN   THEORY   OF   PHYSICAL   SUFFERING.  249 

centratcd  in  himself  the  spirit  of  the  middle  ages.  Whatever  there 
was  of  piety,  of  philosophy,  of  poetry,  of  love  of  nature,  and  of  love 
of  knowledge  in  those  times,  is  drawn  to  a  focus  in  his  writings. 
He  is  the  first  great  name  in  literature  after  the  night  of  the 
dark  ages. 

"  The  Italian  language,  in  all  its  purity  and  sweetness,  in  its 
aptness  for  the  tenderness  of  love  and  the  violence  of  passion,  or 
the  clearness  of  philosophical  arguments,  sprang  fully  grown  and 
fully  armed  from  his  brain.  His  metre  is  as  pliable  and  flexible 
to  every  mood  of  emotion  ;  his  diction  as  plaintive  and  as  sonorous. 
Like  him,  he  can  immortalize,  by  a  simple  expression,  a  person,  a 
place,  or  a  phase  of  nature.  Dante  is  even  truer  in  description  than 
Virgil,  whether  he  paints  the  snow  falling  in  the  Alps,  or  the  home- 
ward flight  of  birds,  or  the  swelling  of  an  angry  torrent.  But  under 
this  gorgeous  pageantry  of  poetry  there  lies  a  unity  of  conception, 
a  power  of  philosophic  grasp  and  earnestness  of  religion,  which  to 
the  Roman  poet  were  entirely  unknown. 

"Still  more  striking  is  the  similarity  between  Dante  and  Milton. 
This  may  be  said  to  lie  rather  in  the  kindred  nature  of  their  sub- 
jects, and  in  the  parallel  development  of  their  minds,  than  in  any 
mere  external  resemblance.  In  both,  the  man  was  greater  than 
the  poet,  the  souls  of  both  were  '  like  a  star"  and  dwelt  apart.'  Both 
were  academically  trained  in  the  deepest  studies  of  their  age  ;  the 
labor  which  made  Dante  lean  made  Milton  blind.  'On  evil  days, 
though  fallen,  and  evil  tongues,'  they  gathered  the  concentrated 
experience  of  their  lives  into  one  immortal  work,  the  quintessence 
of  their  hopes,  their  knowledge,  and  their  sufferings. 

"  Looked  at  outwardly,  the  life  of  Dante  seems  to  have  been  an 
utter  and  disastrous  failure.  What  its  inward  satisfaction  must 
have  been,  we,  with  Paradiso  open  before  us,  can  form  some  con- 
ception. To  him,  longing  with  an  intensity  which  only  the  word 
DANTESQUE  will  express,  to  realize  an  ideal  upon   earth,  and  con- 


250  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

tinually   baffled   and   misunderstood,   the   far   greater  part   of  his 
mature  Hfe  must  have  been  labor  and  sorrow." 
The  Poet's  Death. 

In  1 3 17-18,  Dante  appears  to  have  been  still  wandering  about 
Italy.  In  13 19,  he  repaired  again  to  Guido  da  Polenta,  lord  of 
Ravenna,  by  whom  he  was  hospitably  received,  and  with  whom  he 
appears  to  have  remained  till  his  death.  There  he  was  seized  by 
an  illness  which  terminated  fatally  either  in  July  or  September, 
1321. 

Scarce  was  Dante  at  rest  in  his  grave  when  Italy  felt  instinc- 
tively that  this  was  her  great  man. 

In  1350,  the  republic  of  Florence  voted  the  sum  of  ten  golden 
florins,  to  be  paid  by  the  hands  of  Messrs.  Giovanni  Bocaccio  to 
Dante's  daughter  Beatrice,  a  nun  in  the  convent  of  Santa  Chiara 
at  Ravenna. 

In  1396,  Florence  voted  a  monument,  and  begged  in  vain  for 
the  metaphorical  ashes  of  the  man  of  whom  she  had  threatened  to 
make  literal  cinders  if  she  could  catch  him  alive.  In  1429,  she 
begged  again,  but  Ravenna,  a  dead  city,  was  tenacious  of  the  dead 
poet.  In  1 5 19,  Michael  Angelo  would  have  built  the  monument, 
but  Leo  X.  refused  to  allow  the  sacred  dust  to  be  removed. 

Finally,  in  1829,  five  hundred  and  eight  years  after  the  death  of 
Dante,  Florence  got  a  cenotaph  fairly  built  in  Santa  Croce  (by 
Ricci),  ugly  even  beyond  the  usual  lot  of  such,  with  three  colossal 
figures  on  it,  Dante  in  the  middle,  with  Italy  on  one  side,  and  Poesy 
on  the  other. 

The  tomb  at  Ravenna,  built  originally  in  1483,  was  restored  in 
1692,  and  finally  rebuilt  in  its  present  form  in  1780.  It  is  a  little 
shrine,  covered  with  a  dome,  not  unlike  the  tomb  of  a  Mohammedan 
saint,  and  is  now  the  chief  magnet  which  draws  foreigners  and  their 
gold  to  Ravenna.  The  VALET  DE  PLACE  says  that  Dante  is  not 
buried  under  it,  but  beneath  the  pavement  of  the  street  in 
front  of  it. 


NOTES  ON 

PROBATIONISM   &  PURGATORY. 


Efll 


I. 


■^W 


'^'^  '^- 


NOTES  OX  PROBATIONISM  AlND  PURGATORY. 


God. 


UTURE  Probation,  is  the  phrase  which  is  commonly 
used  to  denote  the  doctrine  that  after  this  life  is  ended' 
men  will  still  have  opportunity  for  faith  and  repent- 
ance. It  may  not  be  amiss  to  remark,  that  this  doctrine 
has  no  necessary  logical  connection  with  a  belief  in  the 
final  restoration  of  all  rational  creatures  to  the  favor  of 
While  it  is  plain,  in  view  of  the  manifest  fact  that  a  large 
part  of  the  human  race  die  in  sin,  that  one  who  believes  in  final 
universal  salvation,  must  either  believe  in  a  regeneration  and  sanc- 
tification  accomplished  in  the  article  of  death,  or  else,  with  the 
great  majority  of  restorationists,  in  a  faith  and  repentance  in  the 
life  to  come  ;  yet,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  no  less  clear  that  a  man 
may  believe  that  the  offer  of  salvation  will  not  be  restricted  to  this 
life,  while  yet  sincerely  accepting  the  Scripture  testimony  that 
many  will  be  lost  forever. 

Again,  it  is  of  consequence  to  observe,  that  the  doctrine  of  the 
continuance  of  the  Gospel  offer  after  death  is  held  in  various  forms- 
Those  who  maintain  this  differ  among  themselves,  (i)  as  to  the 
DURATION  of  future  probation,  and  (2)  as  to  its  EXTENT.  There 
are  those  who  hold  that  to  all  eternity  it  will  be  possible,  upon  the 
condition  of  repenting  of  sin,  and  believing  upon  Christ  as  Saviour, 
for  any  soul  to  be  saved  from  sin  and  woe.  Others,  again,  main- 
tain that,  although  the  possibility  of  salvation  does  not  end  with 
death,  yet  there  is  a  f-^m**.  for  every  one,  if  not  here,  then  hereafter, 


254  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

after  which  it  will  be  forever  too  late  to  be  saved.  The  most  of 
those  who  hold  this  view,  as  many  evangelical  theologians  of  Europe, 
maintain  that  this  point  is  or  will  be  reached  for  each  person, 
whensoever  and  wheresoever  Christ  shall  be  definitely  and  intelli- 
gibly offered,  and  consciously  and  deliberately  rejected.  It  seems 
to  be  the  common  opinion  with  such,  however,  that  before  the  final 
judgment,  Christ  will  have  been  thus  offered  to  every  human  being 
who  has  ever  lived,  either  before  death  or  after.  Thus  we  may 
distinguish,  in  a  general  way,  different  views  regarding  the  duration 
of  future  probation,  as  the  belief  is  an  everlasting  probation,  and 
the  belief  in  a  probation  terminated,  at  the  farthest,  by  the  day  of 
judgment. 

We  have  also  to  distinguish  two  opinions  as  to  the  extent  of  the 
future  offer  of  salvation.  There  are  those  who  believe  that  all  who 
die  impenitent,  will  still,  for  a  time,  limited  or  unlimited,  after  death, 
have  the  opportunity  of  salvation  ;  a  large  number  restrict  this 
privilege  to  those  who,  like  the  most  of  men  in  heathen  lands,  and 
not  a  few  in  so-called  Christian  countries,  have  not  had  in  their  life- 
time any  opportunity  of  hearing  about  Christ  in  any  intelligible  way, 
and  so  have  never  intelligently  rejected  him. 

It  is  not  easy  to  exaggerate  the  practical  importance  of  this 
question.  If  the  offer  of  salvation  will  be  continued  after  death  to 
some  or  to  all  who  die  impenitent,  then  it  should  be  most  clearly 
shown.  We  need  the  consolation  which  the  knowledge  of  this 
would  give,  so  often  are  our  hearts  overburdened  with  the  inscrutable 
mystery  of  permitted  sin.  But  if.  on  the  other  hand,  the  almost 
universal  belief  of  the  Church  in  all  ages  to  the  contrary,  be  indeed 
founded  on  the  teachings  of  God's  word,  then  do  we  need  to  know 
this  with  assurance.  Life  is  serious  enough,  in  any  view  of  the 
case  ;  but  what  shall  be  said  of  the  awful  solemnity  of  living,  if,  on 
the  decisions  of  three  score  years  and  ten,  really  turns  the  question 
whether  we  shall  be  holy  and  happy,  or  sinful  and  miserable  forever 
and  ever?  or  what,  again,  shall  be  said  of  the  responsibility  which 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  255 

rests  upon  the  Church  of  Christ,  if,  although  the  offer  of  salvation 
be  for  this  life  only,  she  is  anything  less  than  most  intensely  earnest 
in  carrying  the  tidings  of  the  great  salvation  to  those  who  are  sit- 
ting in  darkness  ? 

As  to  how  our  hearts  would  have  this  question  answered,  with 
the  light  we  have,  there  can  be  no  doubt.  From  many  a  soul  would  a 
haavy  burden  be  lifted,  could  the  assurance  be  given  from  God's  word, 
that  for  all  or  any  who  had  died  impenitent,  there  was  still  room  for 
hope.  Especially  is  this  the  case  with  regard  to  the  heathen  world. 
We  do  not  greatly  wonder  that  so  many  believe  in  a  future  preach- 
ing of  the  gospel,  to  these  at  least,  if  to  no  others.  And  while  we 
would  be  far  from  calling  in  question  the  sincerity  and  piety  of 
many,  who  confidently  hold  to  the  extension  of  the  gospel  offer 
after  death,  we  cannot  resist  the  conviction  forced  upon  us  by  many 
of  the  arguments  one  hears,  that  with  very  many  such,  these  inward 
desires  and  longings  of  the  heart,  as  well  as  the  intellectual  difficul- 
ties which  render  so  inscrutable  the  permission  of  sin  by  God,  and 
the  apparent  inequality  of  his  dealings,  have  often  had — no  doubt 
unconsciously  to  the  individual — a  decisive  influence  on  the  inter- 
pretation of  God's  word. 

Considering  this  doctrine  now  under  each  of  the  forms  under 
which  it  is  presented,  we  ask,  first,  whether  there  is  reason  to  be- 
lieve that  the  offer  of  salvation  will  ALWAYS  stand  open,  so  that  it 
will  never  be  too  late  for  any  one  to  be  saved  ?  The  theory  which 
maintains  this,  as  commonly  held,  seems  to  us  to  rest  upon  an 
erroneous  view  as  to  the  nature  of  free  agency.  It  is  conceived 
that  in  order  to  free  agency,  man  must  ever  have  plenary  power  to 
choose  for  God.  Hence  is  inferred  an  eternal  possibility  of  repent- 
ance. It  is  apart  from  the  scope  of  this  argument  to  go  into  a  full 
discussion  of  this  question.  We  can  only  say  that  the  theory  of 
freedom  to  which  we  refer,  seems  to  us  to  stand  in  direct  contra- 
diction to  undisputed  facts  of  experience.  If  any  man  has  doubt 
on  this  subject,  and  thinks  that  because  he  is  free,  he  can  by  voli- 


256  FUTURE    rUNISHMENT. 

tion  reverse  at  pleasure  the  current  of  his  love  or  hate,  let  him  at 
once,  by  all  means,  try  the  experiment,  and  so  test  his  theory.  Let 
the  man  who  is  conscious  of  hating  his  enemy,  will  to  begin  to  love 
him  heartily  and  sincerely  from  a  certain  definite  hour. 

Moreover,  it  must  not  be  overlooked  that  if  this  argument  be 
assumed  to  prove  the  continuance  of  the  possibility  of  salvation  for 
ever,  by  logical  necessity  this  involves  the  perpetual  possibility  ot 
apostasy  from  God  among  the  saved — a  doctrine  which  finds  few 
advocates!  On  the  other  hand,  if  the  certainty  that  a  man  will 
never  sin, — a  certainty  which  we  all  believe  will  be  attained  by  the 
saved  hereafter, — is  compatible  with  freedom,  then  plainly  a  cer- 
tainty that  a  man  will  never  stop  sinning,  may  be  no  less  compati- 
ble with  freedom. 

But  even  if  this  conception  of  free  agency  were  not  false,  still 
I  he  conclusion  would  not  follow,  that  there  could  never  be  a  time 
too  late  to  be  delivered  from  the  punishment  of  sin.  For  mere  re- 
pentance and  forsaking  of  sin  does  not  of  itself  bring  deliverance 
from  penal  evil.  That  it  does  this,  in  the  case  of  the  christian,  is 
due,  not  to  anything  in  the  nature  of  faith  and  repentance,  but 
solely  to  the  Grace  of  God,  through  the  atonement  of  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ.  In  order,  therefore,  to  prove  that  there  can  never  be 
a  time  when  salvation  shall  not  be  attainable,  it  must  be  shown, 
not  only  that  an  irreversible  fixedness  of  character  is  impossible, 
but  also  that  there  never  will  be  a  time  when  God,  who  is  now 
ready  to  save  from  the  penal  consequences  of  sin,  on  condition 
of  faith  and  repentance,  will  be  willing  no  longer.  It  must  be 
shown  from  the  Scriptures, — the  only  possible  source  of  knowledge 
on  such  a  subject, — that  it  is  not  possible  for  a  sinner  to  exhaust 
the  patience  and  long-suffering  of  God. 

Again,  this  theory  of  an  eternal  possibility  of  salvation  over- 
looks patent  facts  of  observation  and  experience.  For  is  it  not 
plain  that  the  will  ever  tends  to  set  itself,  to  all  appearance  change- 
lessly,  with  the  most  astonishing  rapidity,  especially  in  evil?     Is  it 


NOTES    ON    PROBATION  ISM    AND    PURGATORY.  257 

not  the  fact  that  very  rarely  do  we  see  a  man  turn  to  God  who  is 
past  fifty  ?  Are  there  many  who  turn  even  at  forty  ?  Is  it  not 
clear  that  moral  character  instead  of  never  becoming  unchangeably 
fixed  in  evil,  in  multitudes  of  cases  appears  to  be  already  settled 
here  in  this  life,  for  this  side  of  death?  And  if  practically  this 
fixity  of  character  is  often  reached  here  on  the  earth  within  so  short 
a  time  as  fifty  years,  what  is  the  probability  that  a  man  who  has 
successfully  resisted  the  Gospel  for  centuries, — supposing  it  to  be 
offered  for  so  long, — will  yet  accept  it, — say,  after  a  thousand  years  ? 

But  others,  assuming  now  a  different  view  of  human  freedom, 
argue  that  there  is  hope  yet  even  in  such  a  case  from  the  almighty 
power  of  God.  To  this  we  answer  that  the  question  is  not  as  to 
what  God  can  do,  but  as  to  what  he  has  revealed  that  he  has  deter- 
mined to  do.  What  the  answer  to  that  question  must  be,  does  not, 
with  regard  to  this  life,  admit  of  dispute.  Although  i-t  is  true  that 
God  is  almighty,  and  although,  as  we  believe,  regeneration  is  an  act 
of  his  almighty  power,  yet  it  is  evident  that  he  gives  this  grace,  as 
a  general  rule,  not  without  regard  to  the  laws  of  habit.  It  is  a  fact 
that  God  very  rarely  renews  any  who  are  past  middle  life.  This  is 
a  most  significant  fact  in  its  bearing  on  the  present  controversy. 
The  will  rapidly  tends  to  set  and  harden,  as  the  result  of  repeated 
acts  of  choice,  and,  so  far  as  all  appearances  go,  with  multitudes 
has  already  taken  an  irreversible  set  against  God  and  holiness,  even 
before  life  is  half  gone.  It  is  a  fact  that  God,  in  the  bestowal  of 
his  regenerating  grace,  commonly  regards  this  law.  This  does  not 
look  like  an  everlasting  possibility  of  salvation. 

Finally,  against  this  theory  of  a  probation   without  limit  stand 

all  the  representations  of  the  Scriptures  as  to  the  issues  of  the  day 

of  judgment.     In  every  instance  they  represent  those  issues  as  final 

and  irreversible.     It  was  the  Lord  Jesus  who   declared  to  many  he 

would  yet  speak  those  awful  words,  "  Depart  from   me,  ye  cursed, 

into  everlasting  fire,  prepared  for  the  devil  and  his  angels  !"      As  to 

rejoinders  based  upon  other  interpretations  of  the  word  AlONioS, 
17 


258  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

it  may,  wc  tliink,  be  fairly  said  that  the  New  Testament  usac^e  of 
that  term  has  been  finally  settled  by  the  highest  lexical  authorit}', 
as  denoting  endless  duration. 

Whatever  opinion,  then,  any  may  hold  as  to  the  precise  time 
when  for  each  one  probation  ends,  if  anything  is  plain  from  the 
Scriptures  it  is  this,  that  it  will  not  continue  for  ever.  It  will  cer- 
tainly not  last  beyond  the  day  of  judgment.  The  issues  of  that  day 
are  final.  The  great  burden  of  all  the  Divine  expostulations  is 
ever  just  thi^, — the  coming  of  a  time  when  it  shall  be  forever  too 
late.  Thus,  in  the  Epistle  to  the  Hebrews,  we  read  :  "  To-day,  if 
ye  will  hear  his  voice,  harden  not  your  hearts,  as  in  the  days  of  the 
temptation  in  the  wilderness.         *  *         To  whom  I  sware  in 

my  wrath,  they  shall  not  enter  into  my  rest."  Of  what  force  such 
words  as  these,  if  there  shall  never  be  a  time  when  it  shall  be  too 
late  to  repent  ? 

But  this  is  so  clear  that  the  most  of  those  who  deny  a  universal 
restoration,  and  yet  affirm  a  doctrine  of  future  probation,  are  care- 
ful to  say  that  this  probation  will  yet  have  a  limit.  We  are  told 
that  in  no  case  will  it  last  beyond  the  intermediate  state  ;  while  for 
many,  through  their  free  self-decision  against  Christ,  or  the  sin 
against  the  Holy  Ghost,  it  may  end  much  sooner,  even  in  this  life. 
Among  those  who  hold  that  in  the  intermediate  state,  salvation 
will  still  be  offered,  we  may,  however,  distinguish,  as  above  re- 
marked, two  classes.  There  are  those  who  hold  that  this  side  of 
the  day  of  judgment  the  offer  of  salvation  will  be  absolutely  closed 
for  none,  except  for  those  who  have  been  guilty  of  the  sin  against 
the  Holy  Spirit ;  while  others,  probably  a  much  larger  number, 
think  that  the  future  offer  of  salvation  will  be  restricted  to  those 
who  had  not  in  this  life  the  opportunity  of  deciding  for  or  against 
Christ.     W^e  have  first  to  consider  the  view  of  the  former  class. 

As  to  these,  in  the  first  place,  no  one  pretends  to  have  discovered 
a  single  formal  statement  in  the  Scriptures  teaching  that  those  who 
reject  Christ  when  offered  to  them  here,  will  have  the  opportunity 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  259 

to  reverse  their  decision  hereafter.  If  this  be  not  decisive  against 
the  supposed  doctrine,  yet  the  absence  of  such  statement  is  cer- 
tainly of  ominous  significance 

In  the  second  place,  against  this  theory  stands  the  fact  already 
noted,  that  the  Scriptures  attach  such  transcendent  importance  to 
this  earthly  life.  If  all,  with  the  exception  of  the  one  small  class 
already  noted,  shall  have  the  opportunity  to  believe  on  Christ  here- 
after, how  explain  the  burning  urgency  of  the  apostle  Paul,  for  ex- 
ample,— his  more  than  willingness,  his  intense  eagerness  to  become 
anything,  or  do  anything,  so  that  he  "might  by  all  means  save 
some." 

However  painful  the  conclusion,  and  however  dark  the  mystery 
which  veils  the  judgment  of  God,  the  more  that  we  study  the  Scrip- 
tures, the  more  are  we  constrained  to  hold  with  steadfastness  to  the 
teaching  of  the  church  catholic  upon  this  subject,  that  if  the  Scrip- 
tures are  to  be  allowed  to  decide  the  question,  then  we  must  believe 
that  for  all  at  least  who  hear  the  Gospel  and  reject  it,  the  opportu- 
nity of  salvation  ends  with  death.  For  all  such  we  feel  compelled 
to  believe  that  if  there  be  any  meaning  in  words,  then  the  interme- 
diate state  is  not  a  state  of  continued  probation,  but  the  beginning 
of  a  woe  which  is  endless. 

But  is  it  also  this  for  all  ?  This  brings  us  to  the  consideration  of 
the  other  form  in  which  a  doctrine  of  probation  between  death  and 
judgment  is  maintained.  Granting  that  for  all  who  here  have  the 
opportunity  of  accepting  Christ  as  Saviour  and  reject  him,  the  inter- 
mediate state  will  offer  no  chance  to  reverse  their  decision  and 
retrieve  their  error,  may  we  not,  with  many,  suppose  that  for  those 
who,  through  no  fault  of  their  own,  have  never  heard  of  Christ  on 
earth,  the  opportunity  to  know  his  gospel  and  accept  it  will  be  given 
after  death,  so  that  at  last  to  every  human  being,  either  in  this  life 
or  the  next,  before  the  final  day  of  judgment,  Christ  will  have  been 
clearly  offered,  to  be  accepted  or  rejected  ? 


26o  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

This  question  must  not  be  confounded,  as  it  sometimes  is,  with 
the  perfectly  distinct  question,  whether  it  be  permitted  to  suppose 
that  possibly  the  Spirit  of  God  may,  in  exceptional  cases  here  in 
this  world,  renew  the  hearts  of  men  who  have  never  heard  of  a 
Christ,  thus  leading  them  to  true  repentance  and  holy  living  with- 
out the  knowledge  of  a  Saviour.  Whether  this  be  true,  indeed,  we 
greatly  doubt ;  never  among  the  heathen  have  we  met  or  heard  of 
one  meeting  any  person  who  gave  evidence  of  being  born  again, 
before  that  they  had  heard  the  Gospel.  But  whether  true  or  not, 
this  is  not  the  question  now  before  us.  What  it  really  is,  may  be 
stated  again  in  the  words  of  Prof.  Dorner,  who  advocates  this  view. 

He  says  :  "  The  absoluteness  of  Christianity  demands  that  no 
one  be  judged  before  Christianity  has  been  made  acceptable  and 
brought  near  to  him.  But  that  is  not  the  case  in  this  life  with  mil- 
lions of  human  beings.  Nay,  even  within  the  Church  there  are 
periods  and  circles  where  the  Gospel  does  not  really  approach  men 
as  that  which  it  is.  Moreover,  those  dying  in  childhood  have  not 
been  able  to  decide  personally  for  Christianity." 

In  regard  to  this  question  we  have  to  remark,  first,  as  to  infants  : 
their  case  does  not  oblige  us  to  suppose  that  because  they  have 
not  yet  been  able  to  believe,  therefore  they  must  enter  on  the  in- 
termediate state  with  their  spiritual  condition  undecided.  For  as 
many  as  believe  in  the  possibility  and  the  fact  of  infant  regener- 
ation, it  should  be  plain  that  it  is  quite  possible  for  God,  by  his 
almighty  power,  without  interfering  with  human  freedom,  by  his 
regenerating  grace  to  make  the  future  free  decisions  of  all  such 
absolutely  certain  before  they  leave  this  world.  For  infants,  there- 
fore, while  we  must  as  Prof.  Dorner  suggests,  admit  that  their  first 
conscious  personal  choice  of  Christ  as  Lord  and  Saviour  must  be 
made  in  the  future  life,  yet  it  by  no  means  follows,  as  he  and  others 
have  assumed,  that  for  this  reason  their  regeneration  must  also  take 
place  in  the  intermediate  state.  In  such  a  first  free  choice  of  Christ 
one  need   only  see  the  assured   result  of  a  regenerating  change 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  261 

which  passed  UDon  them  while  yet  in  this  present  Hfe.  Where 
God,  however,  has  revealed  so  little,  we  shall  do  well  that  our  own 
words  be  few. 

The  chief  interest  of  the  question  before  us,  centres  in  the  case 
of  the  heathen.  Does  the  word  of  God  warrant  the  belief  that  to 
all  those  to  whom,  *:h»-ough  no  fault  of  their  own,  the  Gospel  has 
not  in  their  lifetime  been  preached,  it  will  be  preached,  bringing  them 
the  offer  of  salvation,  in  the  world  of  the  dead  ?  Gladly,  indeed, 
would  one  welcome  such  a  doctrine.  We  do  not  wonder  that  so 
many  have  eagerly  caught  at  such  a  hope.  Such  a  truth,  if  a  truth, 
would  lift  from  the  heart  of  many  a  thoughtful  Christian  a  very 
heavy  burden.  Nevertheless  we  are  compelled  to  say  for  our  part, 
we  are  able  to  find  in  the  word  of  God  no  warrant  for  such  a  cheer- 
ing hope,  but  on  the  contrary  much  that  seems  to  be  very  clear 
against  it. 

In  the  first  place,  the  Scriptures  uniformly  assume  that  what  is 
done  for  the  salvation  of  the  heathen  must  be  done  in  this  life. 
This  seems  to  be  suggested,  for  example,  if  not  distinctly  implied, 
in  the  account  which  they  give  of  the  missionary  labors  of  the 
apostle  Paul. 

Again,  in  Rom.  x.  9-17,  Paul  first  lays  down  the  necessity  of 
faith, — of  calling  on  the  name  of  the  Lord — in  order  to  salvation. 
To  this  necessity  he  makes  no  exceptions,  suggests  no  qualifica- 
tions whatever.  But  then  he  reminds  us  that  men  cannot  "call 
upon  him  of  whom  they  have  not  heard  "  ;  that  "  faith  cometh  by 
hearing,  and  hearing  by  the  word  of  God  ";  and  argues  that,  again, 
it  is  impossible  for  men  to  hear  without  preaching,  and  for  any 
to  preach,  "'except  they  be  sent." 

From  these  words,  as  from  the  apostle's  own  actions,  the  natural 
inference  is  that  he  believed  that  if  the  heathen  are  to  be  saved, 
they  must  hear  of  Christ  from  the  living  preacher.  Will  any  one 
venture  to  say  that  Paul  in  this  language  had  in  mind  also  a  preach- 
ing of  the  Gospel  to  the  dead  ?     Surely  his  words  must  refer  to  the 


262  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

sendinsT  of  the  Gospel  by  the  living  Church  to  unevangclizcd  lands 
— as  to  Africa,  China,  and  India — and  not  to  missionary  work  in 
Hades ! 

Most  explicit  of  all,  however,  are  the  words  of  the  same  apostle 
in  Rom,  ii.  12,  where  we  read,  "As  many  as  have  sinned  without 
law  " — what  ?  shall  have  a  chance  to  hear  the  law  in  the  next  life, 
and  so  to  repent  and  be  saved  ?  That  is  far  enough  from  being 
what  he  says,  for  the  words  are,  "  As  many  as  have  sinned  without 
law,  SHALL  ALSO  PERLSH  without  law."  No  words  could  be  more 
categorical  or  all-inclusive  in  their  scope.  "  As  MANY  AS  have 
sinned  without  law,  SHALL  also  perish  without  law"!  This 
single  passage  seems  to  us  to  stand  like  a  wall,  forbidding  to  all 
who  acknowledge  the  inspired  authority  of  the  apostle  any  further 
speculation  on  the  matter. 

To  these  strictly  Scriptural  arguments  we  do  not  feel  that  it 
should  be  necessary  to  add  anything  else.  Where  the  Holy  Spirit 
has  spoken,  it  befits  us  to  be  silent. 

But  it  is  right  that  we  should  hear  what  is  argued  on  the  other 
side  of  this  question. 

In  the  first  place,  then,  from  the  dogmatic  point  of  view,  the 
doctrine  of  a  future  probation,  for  at  least  the  heathen,  is  argued 
from  the  nature  of  God  as  in-finitely  good  and  just.  For  if  we  arc 
to  believe  that  God  has  provided  a  salvation  sufficient  for  all,  and 
that  yet  multitudes,  through  no  fault  of  their  own,  are  in  the  provi- 
dence of  God  precluded  from  any  chance  of  hearing  of  Christ  in 
this  life,  and  because  of  this  are  helplessly  lost,  and  that  forever, 
then,  it  is  said,  it  is  quite  impossible  to  vindicate  the  goodness  and 
justice  of  God. 

Tliat,  assuming  this  to  be  the  real  state  of  the  case,  we  find  our- 
selves confronting  a  dark  and  most  painful  mystery,  no  one  will 
deny.  And  yet  a  very  little  reflection  should  make  it  clear  to  any 
one  that  arguments  such  as  this,  from  the  justice  and  goodness  of 
God,  to  what  God  will  do  or  will  not  do,  cannot  be  alwa}'s  pressed 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  263 

.vith  much  confidence,  plausible  as  they  seem  at  first  hearing.  For, 
as  already  remarked,  it  will  not  do  to  ignore  the  fact  that  although 
God  is  infinite  in  justice,  goodness  and  mercy,  yet  sin  and  pain  are 
here.  And  where  is  there  anything  in  this  common  argument  from 
the  goodness  and  justice  of  God  as  demanding  a  future  probation 
for  the  heathen,  which  would  not  have  applied,  A  FORTIORI,  against 
the  permission  of  sin  and  misery  at  all  ?  It  is  here  that  the  real 
mystery  lies  ;  and  not  in  fixing  a  certain  limit  to  probation,  or  in 
denying  the  offer  of  pardon  to  many  of  the  sinful  sons  of  men. 
Surely  the  fact  that  sin  is  here,  notwithstanding  the  moral  perfec- 
tion of  God,  should  make  us  more  cautious  and  less  confident  than 
some  are  in  the  inference,  that  the  nature  of  God  ensures  to  any  or 
all  among  the  heathen  an  offer  of  salvation  after  death. 

In  the  second  place,  now  that  sin  has  mysteriously  come  into 
the  world,  it  is  at  least  quite  conceivable,  that  the  universal  limita- 
tion of  the  offer  of  salvation  to  the  present  life,  may  be  just  the 
best  way  that  infinite  wisdom  could  devise  for  restraining  the  evils 
of  sin  within  the  narrowest  possible  limits.  Certain  it  is  that  no 
man  living  knows  enough  of  the  divine  government  to  be  able  to 
show  that  this  may  not  indeed  be  so. 

Again,  the  argument  assumes  a  low  and  false  estimate  of  the 
moral  intelligence  and  consequent  guilt  of  the  heathen.  When  it 
is  asked  whether  the  heathen  can  justly  be  punished  for  their  sin, 
the  answer  turns  upon  the  question,  whether  they  have  any  valid 
excuse  for  their  sin.  If  they  neither  know,  nor  by  any  possible  effort 
could  know,  what  the  holy  God  requires  of  man,  then  indeed  we 
must  confess  that  to  punish  them  would  be  unjust,  and  that  a 
future  revelation  would  be  necessary  before  they  could  be  justly 
condemned.  But  we  must  insist  that  the  moral  ignorance  of  the 
heathen,  by  'hinkers  of  this  class  is  very  often  grossly  exagger- 
ated. The  plain  teaching  of  the  Holy  Scriptures  is,  that  while 
the  heathen  have  not  from  the  light  of  nature  light  enough  to  save 
them,  they  do  have   enough  to   condemn   them.     As   regards   the 


264  FUTURE    PUNISIIMKNT. 

revelation  of  God  in  external  nature  we  read,  that  "the  invisible 
things  of  God  from  the  creation  of  the  world  are  clearly  seen,  being 
understood  b>-  the  things  that  are  made, — so  that  they  are  without 
excuse,  because  that  when  they  knew  God,  they  glorified  him  not 
as  God,  neither  were  thankful."  In  like  manner  as  regards  the 
revelation  of  God's  will  in  the  heart, — the  law  which  is  written  on 
the  natural  conscience, — we  read  again,  that  these  which  have  not 
the  law,  are  yet  "  a  law  unto  themselves,  which  show  the  work  of 
the  law  written  in  their  hearts,  their  conscience  also  bearing  wit- 
ness, and  their  thoughts  the  meanwhile  accusing,  or  else  excusing 
one  another."  That  the  heathen  are  so  totally  and  helplessly  ignor- 
ant that  they  could  not  be  justly  punished  for  their  sin,  is  in  these 
passages  formally  denied. 

And  the  argument  of  the  apostle  is  confirmed  by  the  testimony 
of  the  heathen  themselves  in  numberless  instances.  Evil  as  their 
life  is,  they  know,  or,  at  least,  if  they  but  stop  and  think,  they  may 
know  that  it  is  evil.  This  is  shown,  for  example,  by  the  fact  that 
among  idolatrous  peoples,  again  and  again,  have  thoughtful  indi- 
viduals seen  the  folly  and  the  sin  of  idol  worship,  and,  led  by  the 
light  of  nature  only,  have  condemned  and  forsaken  it,  And  the 
stern  charge  of  God's  Word  is  the  more  acknowledged  in  the  mul- 
titude of  testimonies  which  we  have  from  heathen  in  every  part  of 
the  world — testimonies  at  once  to  their  knowledge  of  the  right  and 
the  wrong,  and  their  consciousness  of  guilt  and  ill-desert. 

But  it  is  rejoined  that  still,  although  the  heathen  may  for  their 
sins  deserve  to  be  punished,  as  indeed  do  we  all  ;  yet,  since  God 
has  offered  salvation  to  many,  he  must  therefore  in  justice  offer  it 
to  all,  and  at  least  give  all  an  equal  chance  to  accept  or  reject  the 
salvation,  else  he  were  become  partial  and  unjust.  Hence  it  is 
inferred  with  great  confidence,  that  since,  beyond  doubt,  the  Gospel 
is  not  offered  to  all  in  this  life,  it  will  certainly  be  offered  after 
death,  before  the  final  judgment,  to  all  who  could  not  hear  the 
Gospel  while  in  this   present   life.     To  this  argument   one  might 


NOTES    ON    PROBATIONISM    AND    PURGATORY.  265 

answer,  that  it  is  contradicted  even  by  the  voice  of  human  reason 
as  expressed  in  human  government.  For,  in  the  case  of  a  revolt 
among  men,  who  would  venture  to  maintain  that  in  the  event  of  an 
amnesty  being  offered  to  some,  the  Government  could  not  do  less 
in  justice  than  offer  amnesty  to  all  whose  guilt  was  similar  ?  Can 
any  one  deny  that  in  such  a  case  a  human  government  may  reserve, 
and  righteously  reserve,  its  rights  of  sovereignty  ?  Where  in  the 
history  of  our  race  was  the  theory  ever  propounded  or  acted  on, 
that  in  such  cases  amnesty  must  be  offered  to  all  under  the  same 
circumstances,  if  offered  to  any  ? 

But  this  argument  derives  its  whole  force  from  the  tacit  assump- 
tion already  mentioned,  that  man  has  some  claim  on  God  for 
saving  mercy.  For  if  he  has  not,  what  basis  then  for  the  assump- 
tion that  those  to  whom  the  Gospel  is  not  offered  in  this  life,  MUST 
have  it  offered  after  death?  But  to  assume  such  a  claim  of  man  on 
God  is  to  assume  what  is  contradicted  by  the  plainest  declarations 
of  the  Scriptures.  Everywhere  and  always  they  insist  that  man's 
salvation  is  "  ALL  oF  GRACE  ;"  whereas  this  argument  assumes  that 
the  heathen  somehow  have  a  claim  in  righteousness  on  God  for  the 
offer  of  the  Gospel,  so  that  the  Gospel  is  therefore  not  ALL  of  grace, 
but  in  part,  at  least,  of  debt ! 

Last  of  all,  whether  any  man  like  it  or  not,  the  fact  remains  and 
cannot  be  explained  away,  that  God  actually  claims  and  uses  this 
absolute  sovereignty  in  the  dispensations  of  his  mercy.  Are  all 
men  treated  alike  in  the  general  providential  government  of  God  ? 
Neither,  according  to  the  Scripture,  will  they  be  in  his  redemptive 
administrations.  For  it  is  written,  "  He  saith,  I  will  have  mercy 
upon  whom  I  will  have  mercy." 

What  then  ?  Must  we  conclude  that,  as  far  as  man  can  see, 
there  must  be  injustice  with  God,  if  the  heathen,  many  of  them, 
have  not  here  or  hereafter  the  offer  of  salvation  ?  How  shall  this 
^le  ?  Injustice  to  whom  ?  Not  surely  to  those  who  hear  the  Gospel, 
believe  and  a.-^  saved  ;  they  are  saved  righteously  by  the  expiating 


266  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

olood.  Not  surely  to  those  who  hear  the  Gospel  in  this  life,  and 
reject  it  ;  they  have  acted  freely  in  rejecting  Christ  and  suffer 
justly,  and  cannot  complain  or  justly  demand  a  second  probation. 
Is  there  then  injustice  toward  the  heathen  who  never  hear  the 
Gospel,  and  so  perish  in  their  sins  ?  Neither  can  this  be.  For  in 
the  first  place,  they  did  not  deserve  to  be  saved  any  more  than 
others  ;  in  the  second  place,  because  they  will  not  be  punished  for 
not  believing  on  him  of  whom  they  never  heard  nor  could  hear,  but 
only  for  not  living  up  to  the  light  that  they  either  had  or  could 
have  had  ;  and  lastly,  because  God,  as  he  tells  us,  will  in  the 
final  judgment  take  full  account  of  all  the  disadvantages  under 
which  any  have  lived.  "  He  that  knew  his  Master's  will  and  did 
it  not,  shall  be  beaten  with  many  stripes,  and  he  that  knew  not 
his  Master's  will  and  did  it  not,  shall  be  beaten  with  (e\v  stripes." 
— Professor  S.  H.  Kellogg,  D.  D.,  (Presbyterian  Review, 
April,  1885.) 

1ST  Peter  3,  v.  18-20.*  The  Apostle  has  been  led  through  what 
seemed  at  first  a  train  of  ethical  counsels,  to  the  example  of  the 
meekness  and  patience  of  Christ.  But  he  cannot  rest  in  the  thought 
of  his  Lord's  passion  as  being  only  an  example,  and  so  he  passes 
on  to  speak  of  its  redeeming  power.  It  was  a  sacrifice  for  sins  ;  in 
some  mysterious,  transcendent  way,  vicarious.  Its  purpose  was 
nothing  less  than  to  bring  mankind  to  God.  But  then  the  thought 
rose  up  before  him  that  the  work  looked  backward  as  well  as  for- 
ward ;  that  those  who  had  fallen  asleep  in  past  ages,  even  under 
conditions  that  seemed  most  hopeless,  were  not  shut  out  from  hope. 
Starting  either  from  a  wide-spread  belief  among  the  Jews  as  to  the 
extent  of  the  Messiah's  work  ;  or  from  the  direct  teaching  of  his 
Master  after  that  resurrection  ;  or  from  one  of  those  flashes  of  truth 
which  were  revealed  to  him  not  by  flesh  and  blood,  but  by  his 
Father  in   heaven,  he   speaks  of  that   wider  work.     The  Lord  was 

•  This  is  the  view  of  those  who  hold,  that  this  much  disputed  passage  tpaches  tli'> 
poRBibility  of  repentance  after  death.  We  deem  it  only  fair  to  place  it  before  the  reader, 
along  with  the  more  generally  aoeept'^d  interpretations  that  follow. 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM    AND    PURGATORY.  267 

"put  to  death  in  the  flesh,"  but  was  "quickened  in  the  spirit."  That 
cry,  "  Father,  into  Thy  hands  I  commend  my  spirit,"  was  the  begin- 
ning of  a  new  activity.  He  passed  into  the  world  of  the  dead  to 
be  the  herald  of  His  own  victory.  As  our  Lord  in  speaking  of 
God's  judgments  in  the  past,  had  taken  the  days  of  Noah  and  the 
destruction  of  Tyre  and  Sidon,  and  the  Cities  of  the  Plain,  as  repre- 
sentative instances  of  what  was  true  of  countless  others,  so  does 
Peter.  The  spirits  of  whom  he  thought  as  hearing  that  message 
were  those  who  had  been  unbelieving,  disobedient,  corrupt,  ungodly ; 
but  who  had  not  hardened  themselves  in  the  one  irremediable  an- 
tagonism to  good  which  has  never  forgiveness. 

The  words,  taken  by  themselves,  might  leave  us  in  doubt  as  to 
the  nature  and  effect  of  the  proclamation.  But  it  is  surely  altoge- 
ther monstrous  to  think,  as  some  have  thought,  that  He  who  a  short 
time  before  had  breathed  the  prayer,  "  Father,  for  they  know  not 
what  they  do  ;"  who  had  welcomed,  with  a  marvellous  tenderness, 
the  cravings  of  the  repentant  robber  ;  who  had  felt,  though  but  for 
a  moment,  the  agony  of  abandonment,  as  other  children  of  God 
have  felt  it  without  ceasing  to  be  children — should  pass  into  the 
world  of  the  unseen  only  to  tell  the  souls  of  the  lost  of  a  kingdom 
from  which  they  are  excluded,  a  blessedness  in  which  they  had 
neither  part  nor  lot ;  to  mock  with  the  proclamation  of  a  victory 
those  who  were  only  to  be  crushed  under  the  chariot  wheels  of  the 
conqueror.  We  have  not  so  learnt  Christ  as  to  think  of  that  as 
possible. 

But  whatever  doubt  might  linger  round  the  words  is  removed 
by  the  reiterated  assertion  of  the  same  truth  a  few  verses  further 
on  (ist  Peter  iv.  6.)  That  which  was  "  preached  also  to  them  that 
are  dead,"  was  nothing  else  but  a  gospel — the  good  news  of  the 
redeeming  love  of  Christ.  And  it  was  published  to  them,  not  to 
exempt  them  from  the  penalty,  but  that  they  having  been  judged, 
in  all  that  belonged  to  the  relations  of  their  human  life,  with  a  true 
and  righteous  judgment,  should  yet.  in  all  that   affected  their  rela- 


208  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

lion  to  God,  "live  in  the  spirit."  Death  came  upon  them,  and 
they  accepted  their  punishment  as  awarded  by  the  loving  and 
righteous  Judge,  and  so  ceased  from  the  sin  to  which  they  had 
before  been  slaves,  and  thus  it  became  to  them  the  gate  of  life.  So, 
the  Apostle  says  to  his  disciples,  it  should  be  with  them  in  times  of 
calamity  and  persecution.  They  were  to  arm  themselves  with  that 
thought,  and  so  to  cease  from  sin,  as  those  who  were  sharers  in  the 
sufferings  and  death  of  Christ,  crucified,  buried,  risen  again  with 
Him,  accepting  pain,  privation,  ignominy,  as  working  out  a  like 
purification  in  this  present  life.  *  *  The  words  of  the  Apostle 
lead  us  to  the  belief  of  a  capacity  for  repentance,  faith,  love — for 
growth,  discipline,  education  in  those  who  have  passed  away.  We 
have  no  sufficient  grounds  for  limiting  the  work  on  which  they 
dwell  to  the  representative  instance  or  the  time — boundaries,  of 
which  they  speak. — E.  H.  Plumptre,  D.  D.,  Dean  of  Wells. 

The  doctrine  of  the  Church  of  Rome  respecting  the  state  of  de- 
parted souls  is,  that  the  saints  do  not  immediately  pass  into  glory, 
but  first  go  into  a  place  called  purgatory,  where  they  are  purified 
by  fire  from  the  stains  of  sin,  which  had  not  been  washed  out,  dur- 
ing the  present  life.  This  doctrine,  Protestants  affirm,  was  unknown 
to  the  Church  till  the  days  of  Gregory  the  Great,  about  the  end  of 
the  sixth  or  the  beginning  of  the  seventh  century  ;  but  the  way 
seems  to  have  been  prepared  for  it  by  certain  opinions,  which  pre- 
vailed prior  to  that  period,  as  we  learn  from  the  writings  of  the 
Fathers.  A  strange  notion  was  entertained  by  some  respecting 
the  fire  which  will  burn  up  the  earth  and  its  works  ;  that  all  should 
pass  through  it,  that  it  would  completely  purify  the  bodies  of  those 
who  were  to  be  glorified,  and  that  the  more  holy  any  person  had 
been,  he  should  feel  the  less  pain  from  this  process.  With  regard 
to  the  souls  of  the  righteous  they  believed,  that  they  were  in  a  place 
of  rest  and  enjoyment,  but  that  they  should  not  be  admitted  to  the 
beatific  vision  till  the  resurrection  was  past.  Hence  arose  the  prac- 
tice of  praying  for  the  dead.     Conceiving  that  the}-  had    not   }'et 


Antaeus,  one  of  the  giants  of  the  pit,  tikiug   Dante  an  I  Vii'^il  in  his  arms,  plases  them'at  the 
ottom  of  the  circle  or  shore,  which  is  turretteJJwith  giants. 


NOTES    ON    I'ROHA  IIONISM    AND    I'lIKCATOUY,  269 

attaiiU'd  lull  fclicit)',  (lu-  AticuMits  Ihoii'i;!!!  Ihal  tlu-y  mii;lil  he  hciic- 
i'\[c(.\  by  lluMr  piaycMs,  which  would  procure  to  thcui  a  iMcatcr 
(Ictjrce  of  enjoyment.  AIthoui,di  these  ()[)ini()ns  were  lU  material 
for  fancy  und  superstition  to  woilc  up  into  a  still  more  extravagant 
form,  tlu-y  were  widely  dirferent  from  the  doctrine  afterwards  estab- 
lished 1))'  the  Church  of  Rome  as  an  aiticle  ol  I. nth. 

The  prototype  of  Pur_i;atory  is  to  l)e  found  in  heatluMiism,  from 
which  have  been  borrowed  the  cumbersome  ap[)aratus  of  cere- 
monies, and  many  of  the  rclit^ious  o[)inions  held  by  the  ('hurch  of 
Rome.  Tiie  existence  of  a  puri^atory  is  plainly  taut^ht  in  the  writ- 
injjl^s  of  both  poets  and  i)hilosophers.  In  the  sixth  book  of  the  /I'.neid, 
Anchises  explains  to  his  son,  who  had  visited  him  in  the  Shades, 
the  process  wliich  souls  wcrc^  doomed  to  undergo,  before  tliey  could 
be  admitted  into  the  l''lysian  fields,  that  they  mifj^ht  be  freed  from 
the  stains  of  sin  which  adhered  to  them  at  death  (/I'jieid  VI. 
739"  74^^)-  Some  he  says,  are  stretched  out  to  the  winds  ;  others 
are  purified  by  beini;'  plunti^ed  into  an  immense  whirlpool  or  lake  ; 
and  others  are  subjected  to  the  operation  of  fire,  (/ICneid  VI.  743). 
In  his  dialoLjue  entitled  I'haedro,  IMato  informs  us  that  when  men 
enter  into  the  invisible  state,  they  are  judged.  Those  who  are 
neither  truly  virtuous,  nor  consummately  wicked,  are  carried  away 
to  the  Acherusian  lake,  where,  having  suffered  the  pnin'shmenl  of 
their  unjust  deeds,  they  are  dismissed,  and  then  receive  the  reward 
of  their  good  actions.  Those  who  on  account  of  the  greatness  of 
their  sins,  arc  incurable,  are  cast  into  Tartarus,  from  which  they 
shall  never  escape.  Those  who  have  committed  curable  sins  and 
have  repented,  inust  fall  into  Tartarus,  but  after  a  certain  period 
they  will  be  delivered  from  it. 

In  both  these  passages,  we  have  a  very  exact  description  of 
Purgatory  ;  and  as  there  is  no  trace  of  it  in  the  Bible,  we  concludi- 
that  this  is  the  source;  from  which  it  has  been  derived.  The  resem- 
blance appears  more  striking,  if  we  reflect,  that  in  both  cases  it  rests 


270  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

precisely  upon  the  same  foundation,  the  curable  and  incurable  sins 
of  Plato,  answering  exactly  to  the  venial  and  mortal  sins  of  Roman 
Catholics.  By  mortal  sins,  they  understand  those  which  alienate 
men  entirely  from  God,  and  are  worthy  of  eternal  death  ;  and  they 
may  be  compared  to  those  bodily  wounds,  which,  by  their  own 
nature,  cause  the  destruction  of  life.  Venial  sins  do  not  turn  away 
the  sinner  entirely  from  God,  although  they  imper'e  his  approach 
to  him  ;  and  they  may  be  expiated,  because  their  nature  is  so  light 
that  they  do  not  exclude  a  person  from  grace,  or  render  him  an 
enemy  to  God.  Mortal  sins  are  few,  and  even  these  are  so  ex- 
plained away,  that  scarcely  one  is  left  upon  the  list.  All  others  are 
venial,  or  pardonable.  They  are  expiated  partly  by  penances  in 
this  life,  and  partly  by  the  pains  of  purgatory,  the  place  appointed 
for  completing  the  atonement. 

Another  distinction  is  made,  with  a  view  to  support  the  doctrine 
concerning  satisfaction  for  sin  in  the  future  state.  The  pardon  of 
sin  we  understand  to  consist  in  the  full  remission  of  guilt  or  of  the 
obligation  to  punishment,  so  that  to  the  pardoned  man  there  is  no 
condemnation.  Those  who  hold  the  doctrine  of  purgatory,  take  a 
different  view.  They  affirm  that  there  are  two  kinds  of  guilt,  the 
guilt  of  the  fault,  and  the  guilt  of  the  punishment.  The  former  is 
remitted,  and  the  latter  is  retained  ;  or  in  other  words,  the  penitent 
sinner  is  absolved  from  the  sentence  of  eternal  death,  but  is  still 
subject  to  temporal  punishment.  Thus  speaks  the  Council  of 
Trent :  "  If  any  man  shall  say,  that  after  justification  the  fault  is  so 
remitted  to  a  penitent  sinner,  or  the  guilt  of  eternal  punishment  is 
so  blotted  out,  that  there  remains  no  guilt  of  temporal  punishment 
to  be  endured,  in  this  life  or  in  the  future  life  in  purgatory,  before 
he  can  be  admitted  into  the  Kingdom  of  Heaven  ;  let  him  be 
accursed."  Now,  purgatory  is  of  the  nature  of  a  great  penitentiary, 
into  which  the  half-pardoned  culprits  are  sent,  that  they  may  un- 
dergo the  painful  but  wholesome  discipline,  by  which  they  will 
be  glorified  for  full  restoration  to  the  favor  of  God. 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY,  27 1 

The  notion  of  purgatory  seems  so  gross,  that  the  com;"non  sense 
of  every  man  rejects  it,  unless  perverted  and  overpowered  by  autho- 
rity and  prejudice.  Can  a  person  have  any  idea  in  his  mind,  when 
he  talks  of  souls  being  purified  by  fire  ?  Might  he  not,  with  equal 
propriety,  speak  of  a  spirit  being  nourished  with  bread  and  wine  ? 
The  soul  is  supposed  on  this  theory  to  be  a  material  substance, 
upon  which  fire  can  act,  contrary  to  the  belief  even  of  the  abettors 
of  purgatory,  who  admit  the  spirituality  of  its  essence.  The  whole 
fabric  must  therefore  tumble  to  the  ground.  Purgatory  is  physi- 
cally impossible. — Dr.  John  Dick,  (Lectures  on  Theology.) 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  there  does  appear  something  very 
unnatural  in  introducing  our  Lord,  in  the  midst  of  what  is  plainly 
a  description  of  the  results  of  his  atoning  sufferings,  as  having  in 
the  Spirit,  by  which  he  was  quickened  after  he  had  been  put  to 
death,  gone  many  centuries  before,  in  the  antediluvian  age,  to  preach 
to  an  ungodly  world  ;  and  there  is  just  as  little  doubt  that  the  only 
meaning  that  the  words  will  bear,  without  violence  being  done 
them,  is,  that  it  was  when  he  had  been  put  to  death  in  the  flesh  and 
quickened  in  the  Spirit,  or  by  the  Spirit,  whatever  that  may  mean, 
he  went  and  preached  ;  and  that  "  the  Spirits,"  whoever  they  may 
be,  were  "  in  prison,"  whatever  that  may  mean,  when  he  preached 
to  them. 

Interpreters  holding  in  common  that  our  Lord  went  down  to 
Hades,  are  considerably  divided  as  to  what  was  his  object  in  going 
there,  as  described  or  hinted  at  in  the  passage  before  us  ;  one  class 
holding  that  he  went  to  hell  (Gehenna),  the  place  of  torment,  to 
proclaim  to  fallen  angels,  who  are  kept  there  under  chains  of  dark- 
ness, as  the  spirits  in  prison — (though  how  they  could  be  said  to  be 
disobedient  in  the  days  of  Noah  does  not  appear,  and  besides  these 
spirits  seem  plainly  to  belong  to  the  same  class  of  beings  as  "  the 
souls"  that  were  saved,  verse  20) — to  proclaim  throughout  that  dis- 
mal region  his  triumph  over  them  and  their  apostate  chief ;  another 
class  holding  that  he  went  to  this  place  of  torment  to  announce  his 


272  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

triumph  over  the  powers  of  darkness,  and  to  offer  salvation  through 
his  death  to  those  human  spirits  who  had  died  in  their  sins  ;  a  third 
class  holding  that  he  went  to  purgatory  to  release  those  who  had 
been  sufficiently  improved  by  their  disciplinary  sufferings,  and  to 
remove  them  to  paradise  ;  and  a  fourth  class  who  translate  "  the 
spirits  in  prison,"  "  the  spirits  in  safe  keeping,"  holding  that  he  went 
to  paradise,  the  residence  of  the  separate  spirits  of  good  men,  to 
announce  to  them  the  glad  tidings,  that  the  great  salvation,  which 
had  been  the  object  of  their  faith  and  hope,  was  now  completed. 

Each  of  these  varieties  of  interpretation  is  attended  with  its 
own  difficulties,  which  appear  to  me  insuperable.  Some  of  them 
go  upon  principles  obviously  and  demonstratively  false  ;  and  all  of 
them  attempt  to  bring  much  out  of  the  words  which  plainly  is  not 
in  them.  It  seems  incredible,  if  such  events  as  are  darkly  hinted 
at,  rather  than  distinctly  described  in  these  words  thus  interpreted, 
had  taken  place,  that  we  should  have  no  account  of  them,  indeed, 
no  certain  allusion  to  them  in  any  other  part  of  Scripture.  It  seems 
quite  unaccountable  why  the  separate  spirits  of  those  who  had 
lived  in  the  days  of  Noah,  and  perished  in  the  deluge,  are  specially 
mentioned,  as  those  among  the  inhabitants  of  the  unseen  world,  to 
whom  the  quickened  Redeemer  went  and  preached,  the  much 
greater  multitude  who,  before  that  time  and  since  that  time,  had 
gone  down  to  the  land  of  darkness,  being  passed  by  without  notice. 
And  what  will  weigh  much  with  a  judicious  student  of  Scripture  is, 
that  it  is  impossible  to  perceive  how  these  events,  supposing  them 
to  have  taken  place,  were,  as  they  are  represented  by  the  construc- 
tion of  the  language  to  be,  the  effects  of  Christ's  suffering  for  sins 
in  the  room  of  sinners,  and  how  these  statements  at  all  serv^e  to 
promote  the  apostle's  practical  object,  which  was  to  persuade  per- 
secuted Christians  patiently  and  cheerfully  to  submit  to  sufferings 
for  righteousness  sake,  from  the  consideration,  exemplified  in  the 
case  of  our  Lord,  that  suffering  in  a  good  cause,  and  in  a  right  spirit, 
however  severe,  was  calculated  to  lead  to  the  happiest  results.     No 


NOTES    ON    PKOBATIONISM    AND    PURGATORY.  273 

interpretation,  we  apprefiend,  can  be  the  right  one,  which  docs  not 
correspond  with  the  obvious  construction  of  the  passage,  and  with 
the  avowed  design  of  the  writer.  Keeping  these  general  principles 
steadily  in  view,  I  proceed  now  to  state,  as  briefly,  and  as  plainK' 
as  I  can  what  appears  to  me  the  probal:)le  meaning  of  this  difficult 
passage,  "a  passage"  as  Leighton  says  "somewhat  obscure  in 
itself"  but  as  it  usually  falls,  made  more  so  by  the  various  fancies 
and  contests  of  interpreters  aiming  or  pretending  to  clear  it." 

The  first  consequence  of  those  penal,  vicarious  expiatory  suffer- 
ings which  Christ,  the  just  One,  endured  b)^  the  appointment  of  his 
Father,  the  righteous  Judge,  for  sins  in  the  room  of  the  unjust, 
noticed  here  is,  that  he  "  was  put  to  death  in  the  flesh."  But  his 
becoming  thus  bodily  dead  and  powerless  was  not  more  certain!}- 
the  effect  of  his  penal,  vicarious,  expiatory,  sufferings,  than  the 
second  circumstance  here  mentioned,  his  "  being  quickened  in  the 
Spirit." 

The  spiritual  life,  and  power  conferred  on  the  Saviour  as  the 
/award  of  his  disinterested  labors  in  the  cause  of  God's  honor  and 
man's  salvation,  were  illustriously  manifested  in  that  wonderful 
quickening  of  his  apostles  by  the  communication  of  the  Holy  Ghost 
rn  the  day  of  Pentecost  ;  and  in  communicating  through  the  in- 
strumentality of  their  ministry  spiritual  life,  and  all  its  concomit- 
ant and  following  blessings,  to  multitudes  of  souls  dead  in  sins. 

It  is  to  this,  I  apprehend,  that  the  Apostle  refers,  when  he  says, 
"by  which,"  or  "whereby ;"  by  this  spiritual  quickening,  or  "wherefor" 
being  thus  spiritually  quickened,  "  he  went  and  preached  to  the 
spirits  in  prison,  who  beforetime  were  disobedient."  If  our  general 
scheme  of  interpretation  is  well  founded,  there  can  be  no  doubt  as 
to  who  those  "  spirits  in  prison  "  are.  They  are  not  human  spirits, 
confined  in  bodies  like  so  many  prisons,  as  a  punishment  for  sin  in 
some  previous  state  of  being  ;  that  is  a  heathenish  doctrine,  to  which 
Scripture,  rightly  interpreted,  gives  no  sanction  ;  but  sinful  men 
righteously  condemned,  the  slaves  and  captives  of  Satan,  shackled 

18 


274  FUTURI-:    PUNISHMENT 

with  the  fetters  of  sin.  Those  arc  the  captives  to  whom  the  Mes- 
siah, "  anointed  by  the  spirit  of  the  Lord,"  that  is,  just  in  other 
words,  "quickened  in  the  spirit,"  was  to  proclaim  Hbcrty,  the  bound 
ones  to  whom  he  was  to  announce  the  opening  of  the  prison. 

It  is  not  unnatural,  then,  that  g'uilty  and  depraved  men  should 
be  represented  as  captives  in  prison  ;  but  the  phrase,  "  spirits  in 
prison,"  seems  a  strange  one  for  spiritually  captive  men.  It  is  so  ; 
but  the  use  of  it,  rather  than  the  word  "  men  "  in  prison,  or  prison- 
ers, seems  to  have  grown  out  of  the  previous  phrase,  "  quickened  in 
spirit."  He  who  was  quickened  in  the  spirit  had  to  do  with  the 
spirits  of  men,  with  men  as  spiritual  beings.  This  seems  to  have 
given  a  color  to  the  whole  passage  ;  the  eight  persons  saved  from 
the  deluge  are  termed  eight  "  souls."  But  then  it  seems  as  if  the 
spirits  in  prison,  to  whom  our  Lord,  quickened  in  spirit,  is  repre- 
sented as  coming  and  preaching,  were  the  unbelieving  generation 
who  li\-ed  before  the  flood,  ''  the  spirits  in  prison,  who  aforetime 
were  disobedient,  when  once  the  longsuffering  of  God  waited  in  the 
days  of  Noah." 

This  difficulty  is  not  a  formidable  one.  This  stumbling  block 
may  easily  be  removed.  "  Spirits,  in  prison,"  is  a  phrase  character- 
istic of  men  in  all  ages.  We  see  nothing  perplexing  in  the  state 
ment,  "  God  .sent  the  gospel  to  the  Britons,  who  in  the  days  oi 
Caesar  were  painted  savages  ;"  the  persons  to  whom  God  sent  the 
gospel,  were  not  the  same  individuals  who  were  painted  savages  in 
the  days  of  Caesar,  but  they  belonged  to  the  same  race.  Neither 
should  we  find  anything  perplexing  in  the  statement,  Jesus  Christ 
came,  and  preached  to  spiritually  captive  men,  who  were  hard  to  be 
convinced  in  former  times,  especially  in  the  days  of  Noah.  The 
reason  why  there  is  reference  to  the  disobedience  of  men  in  former 
times  and  especially  in  the  days  of  Noah,  will  probably  come  out 
in  the  course  of  our  future  illustrations. 

Having  endeavored  to  dispose  of  these  verbal  difficulties,  let  us 
now  attend  to  the  sentiment  contained  in  the  words  "  lesus  Christ, 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY. 


-/3 


spiritually  quickened,  came  and  preached  to  the  spirits  in  prison, 
who  in  time  past  were  disobedient."  The  coming  and  preaching 
describe  not  what  our  Lord  did  "  bodily,"  but  what  he  did  spiritu- 
ally, not  what  he  did  personally,  but  what  he  did  by  the  instru- 
mentality of  others.  Thus  then,  is  Christ,  quickened  in  consequence 
of  his  suffering,  the  just  one  in  the  room  of  the  unjust,  going  and 
preaching  to  the  spirits  in  prison. 

There  are  two  subsidiary  ideas  in  reference  to  this  preaching  of 
Christ  quickened  in  the  spirit,  to  the  spirits  in  prison,  that  ire  sug- 
gested by  the  words  of  the  apostle,  and  these  are  :  the  success  of 
his  preaching,  and  the  extent  of  that  success.  These  spirits  in 
prison  had  "  aforetime  been  disobedient."  Christ  had  preached 
to  them  not  only  by  Noah,  but  by  all  the  prophets,  for  the  spirits 
in  the  prophets  was  "the  spirit  of  Christ;"  but  he  had  preached  in 
a  great  measure  in  vain.  But  now,  Jesus  Christ  being  quickened 
by  the  spirit,  and  quickening  others  by  the  spirit,  the  consequence 
was,  "the  disobedient  were  turned  to  the  wisdom  of  the  just,"  and 
"  the  spirits  in  prison  "  appeared  a  people  made  ready,  prepared, 
for  the  Lord.  The  word  attended  by  the  spirit,  in  consequence  of 
the  shedding  of  the  blood  of  the  covenant,  had  free  course,  and  was 
glorified,  and  "  the  prisoners  were  sent  forth  out  of  the  pit  wherein 
there  was  no  water."  The  prey  was  taken  from  the  mighty,  tlir 
captive  of  the  terrible  one  was  delivered. 

The  sealed  among  the  tribes  of  Israel  were  a  hundred  forty  and 
four  thousand,  and  the  converted  from  among  the  nations,  the 
people  taken  out  from  among  the  Gentiles,  to  the  name  of  Jehovah, 
formed  an  innumerable  cc^mpany,  "  a  multitude  which  no  man 
could  number,  out  of  every  kindred,  and  people,  and  tribe  and 
nation."  It  was  not  then,  "  as  in  the  days  of  Noah,  when  few,  that 
is,  eight  souls  were  saved  " — multitudes  heard  and  knew  the  joyful 
sound  ;  the  shackles  dropped  from  their  limbs,  and  they  walked  at 
libcrt}',  keeping  God's  commandments.    And  still  does  the  fountain 


276  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

of  life  spring  up  in  tiic  quickened  Redeemer's  heart,  and  well  forth 
giving  life  to  the  world.  Still  does  the  great  Deliverer  prosecute 
his  glorious  work  of  spiritual  emancipation.  Still  is  he  going  and 
preaching  to  the  "spirits  in  prison;"  and  though  all  have  not 
obeyed,  yet  many  already  have  obeyed,  m.any  are  obeying,  many 
more  will  yet  obey. — Dr.  John  Brown.  (Expository  discourses 
on  first  Peter.) 

The  difficult  passage,  ist  Peter  3,  v.  18-19,  however  it  may  be 
interpreted,  proves  nothing  against  the  Protestant  doctrine,  that 
the  souls  of  believers  do  at  death  immediately  pass  into  glory. 
What  happens  to  ordinary  men,  happened  to  Christ  when  He  died. 
His  cold  and  lifeless  body  was  laid  in  the  tomb.  His  human  soul 
passed  into  the  invisible  world.  This  is  all  that  the  creed,  com- 
monly called  the  Apostle's,  means,  when  it  says  Christ  was  buried, 
and  descended  into  Hell,  or  Hades,  the  unseen  world.  This  is  all 
that  the  passage  in  question  clearly  teaches.  Men  may  doubt  and 
differ  as  to  what  Christ  did  during  the  three  days  of  his  sojourn  in 
the  invisible  world.  They  may  differ  as  to  who  the  spirits  were  to 
whom  he  preached,  or  rather  made  proclamation  :  whether  they 
were  the  Antediluvians  ;  or  the  souls  of  the  people  of  God  detained 
in  Sheol  ;  or  the  mass  of  the  dead  of  all  antecedent  generations  and 
of  all  nations,  which  is  the  favorite  hypothosis  of  modern  interpre- 
ters. They  may  differ  also  as  to  what  the  proclamation  was  which 
Christ  made  to  those  imprisoned  spirits  :  whether  it  was  the  gospel  ; 
or  his  own  triumph  ;  or  deliverance  from  Sheol  ;  or  the  coming 
judgment.  However  these  subordinate  questions  may  be  decided, 
all  that  remains  certain  is  that  Christ,  after  his  death  upon  the 
cross,  entered  the  invisible  world,  and  there,  in  some  way,  made 
proclamation  of  what  He  had  done  on  earth.  All  this  is  very  far 
from  teaching  the  doctrine  of  a  "  Limbus  Patrum,"  as  taught  by  the 
Jews,  the  Fathers,  or  the  Romanists, — Dr.  Charles  Hodge, 
(Theology,  vol.  3,  p.  716.) 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  2// 

Those  verses  read,  in  the  revised  version,  as  follows  :  "  Christ 
also  suffered  for  sins,  the  righteous  for  the  unrighteous,  that  he 
might  bring  us  to  God  ;  being  put  to  death  in  the  flesh,  but  quick- 
ened in  the  spirit ;  in  which  also  he  went  and  preached  unto  the 
spirits  in  prison,  which  aforetime  were  disobedient,  when  the  long- 
suffering  God  waited  in  the  days  of  Noah,  while  the  ark  was  a 
preparing." 

Of  these  words  Prof  Dorner  says,  that  what  is  here  said  of  our 
Lord  is  to  be  regarded  as  the  application  of  the  benefit  of  his  atone- 
ment, as  seems  to  be  intimated  by  "  the  preaching "  among  the 
departed.  The  same  conclusion  from  the  words  is  also  drawn  by 
Dean  Alford,  and  by  many  others.  Prof  Dorner  adds  that  this 
descent  into  Hades,  expresses  the  universality  of  Christ's  signifi- 
cance, also  for  former  generations  and  for  the  entire  kingdom  of 
the  dead.  The  distinction  between  earlier  and  later  generations, 
between  the  time  of  ignorance  and  the  time  of  knowledge  of  him- 
self is  done  away  by  Christ.  *  *  The  future  world,  like 
the  present,  is  the  scene  of  his  activity." 

All  this  is  exceedingly  plausible,  but  still  we  cannot  see  that 
these  words  really  prove  a  possible  offer  of  Christ  to  the  departed 
heathen  or  to  any  others.  Many,  as  is  well  known,  have  doubted 
whether  these  words  really  refer  to  any  descent  of  Christ  into 
Hades,  and  not  rather  to  a  work  done  by  Christ  by  his  spirit,  in 
the  days  of  Noah.  With  such  we  do  not  agree,  but  only  remark 
in  passing  that  if  these  interpreters  after  all  should  be  right,  then 
plainly  this  passage  drops  from  the  list  of  those  which  can  by  any 
possibility  be  referred  to  the  case  before  us.  We  assume,  however, 
that  these  words  do  really  describe  a  work  of  Christ  during  the 
three  days  of  his  existence  after  his  crucifixion  in  the  intermediate 
state,  as  the  majority  of  modern  evangelical  exegetes  maintain.  But 
that  the  conclusion  which  is  drawn  therefrom,  in  fav^or  of  the  doc- 
trine of  a  future  offer  of  Christ  to   those  who  have  died   in  sin, 


27^  FUTITRF    pnNISIIMHXT. 

follows  from   this  interpretation — this  \vc  must  certainly  deny,  and 
that  on  the  following  grounds. 

In  the  first  place,  it  must  be  observed  that  at  present  we  have 
to  do  with  those  who  refer  us  to  this  passage,  in  proof  that  the 
gospel  will  be  preached  to  all  the  heathen,  who  have  never  heard 
of  Christ  in  this  life,  while  they  yet  profess  to  believe  that  it  will 
not  be  thus  offered  hereafter,  to  those  who  have  had  the  offer  of 
salvation  in  the  present  life. 

As  thus  applied,  we  answer  that  this  passage  cannot  be  thus 
restricted  in  its  application.  If  it  teach  an  offer  of  sal\-ation  to 
any,  it  must  teach  it  for  ALL  the  impenitent.  For  those  who  arc 
particularly  mentioned  as  the  objects  of  this  preaching  of  Christ,  are 
not  those  who  had  not  the  offer  of  salvation  in  this  life.  Thc\'  arc 
explicitly  said  to  be  those,  "who  were  aforetime  disobedient  in  the 
days  of  Noah,  while  the  ark  was  a  preparing."  They  were  persons 
therefore,  to  whom  Noah,  the  preacher  of  righteousness,  had  already 
in  their  lifetime  faithfully  made  known  the  saving  truth  of  God, 
and  who  had  rejected  it.  The  obvious  conclusion  from  this,  accord- 
ing to  the  principles  of  Prof  Dorner  and  others,  is  not  merely  that 
the  Gospel  will  be  preached  after  death  to  men  who  did  not  in 
this  life  hear  the  Gospel,  but  that  it  will  be  preached  also  to  those 
who  did  here  have  the  Gospel  offered  and  rejected  it.  But  this  in- 
terpretation would  bring  the  passage  into  direct  contradiction  with 
the  words  in  Luke  xvi.  26,  which  so  plainly  tell  us  that  those  who, 
like  the  rich  man,  have  in  this  life  the  revelation  of  God,  and  reject 
it  to  live  a  worldly  life,  are  at  their  death  separated  from  those 
who  are  saved,  by  a  gulf  so  deep  and  broad  that  no  man  can  cross 
it.  If,  then,  the  words  of  Peter  cannot  be  taken  to  teach  a  possi- 
bility of  salvation  after  death,  for  those  who  in  this  life  have  the 
Gospel  and  reject  it,  what  right  has  any  one  to  make  it  teach  this 
for  the  other  class  who  had  not  the  Gospel,  to  whom  there  is  no 
allusion  in  these  verses  ? 


i\'OTES   ON    PROBATIONISM    AND    TURGATORY..  2/9 

In  the  second  place,  it  is  assumed  by  Prof.  Dorncr  and  others, 
that  the  word  "  to  proclaim,"  which  is  here  employed,  must  refer  to 
a  proclamation  of  the  Gospel.  This  meaning"  of  the  word  is  essen- 
tial to  their  argument.  If  thus  standing  by  itself,  it  cannot  be 
proved  to  mean  the  preaching  of  the  Gospel,  then  future  probation 
cannot  be  proved  from  thcje  verses.  But  for  this  assumption 
neither  the  context  nor  the  usage  of  this  verb  in  the  New  Testa- 
ment affords  any  warrant.  The  passage  simply  states  that  there 
was  a  proclamation  made  by  Christ  to  the  persons  named  ;  that  it 
was  a  proclamation  of  mercy,  offered  for  the  salvation  of  those  who 
heard  it,  is  not  so  much  as  hinted  in  the  text.  Nor  does  the  word 
in  the  New  Testament,  when  standing  by  itself,  as  here,  ever 
denote  the  preaching  of  the  Gospel,  but  only  proclamation  in  gen- 
eral. The  only  exceptions  are  in  those  cases  where  the  Gospel,  as 
the  subject  of  the  proclamation,  can  be  supplied  from  the  context. 
This  can  be  seen  by  any  one  in  a  Concordance.  To  assume,  then, 
that  this  word  here,  without  anything  in  the  context  which  should 
supply  the  idea  of  the  Gospel,  should  yet  by  itself  denote  the 
preaching  of  the  Gospel,  is  in  contradiction  to  the  usage  of  the 
word.  The  issue  is  quite  too  serious  to  base  an  argument  upon  an 
unproved  exception  to  general  usage. 

Yet  again,  even  if  we  waive  this  argument  also,  and  admit  that 
as  a  solitary  exception  to  the  ordinary  usage  of  the  word,  this  verb 
here  denotes  a  proclamation  of  the  Gospel,  still  the  doctrine  of  a 
possible  salvation  of  any  after  death  will  not  yet  be  established. 
For  though  we  should  grant  that  the  proclamation  made  to  those 
antediluvian  sinners  was  a  proclamation  of  our  Lord's  redemp- 
tive work,  yet  it  would  not  follow  that  such  proclamation  MUST 
have  been  made  with  a  view  to  their  salvation.  This  is  not  true 
of  all  preaching  of  the  Gospel,  even  in  this  present  life.  W'c 
are  told  in  so  many  words,  for  example,  that  this  was  not  the  pur- 
pose of  the  preaching  of  the  word  of  God  by  Ezekiel.  For  it  is 
written  that  the  Lord  said  unto  him,  "  Go,  get  thee  unto  the  house 


2S0  FUTURl':    I'LNl.^llMl.N  .. 

"f  Israel,  and  speak  with  my  words  unto  them  :  but  the)-  will  not 
hearken  unto  thcc  :  fcjr  tliey  will  not  hearken  unto  me."  If  a  proc- 
lamation of  the  great  work  of  redemption  was  really  made  by  our 
Lord  between  his  death  and  resurrection  in  the  world  of  lost  spirits, 
God  may  easily  have  had  therein  good  and  sufficient  reasons,  other 
tlian  the  saK-ation  of  those  who  when  living  had  chosen  to  please 
themselves  rather  than  to  please  him. 

But  it  is  argued  that  the  words  in  the  sixth  verse  of  the  next 
chapter  teach,  that  the  preaching  was  in  order  to  the  salvation  of 
those  who  heard  it.  That  verse  reads  in  the  revised  version  :  "  For 
unto  this  end  was  the  gospel  preached  even  to  the  dead,  that  the)- 
might  be  judged  according  to  men  in  the  flesh,  but  live  according 
to  God  in  the  Spirit."  In  this  verse,  we  are  told,  the  reference 
is  still  to  the  antediluvian  sinners,  mentioned  in  the  previous  chap- 
ter, and  that  the  proclamation  of  the  previous  chapter  is  here  more 
prccisel)-  defined  as  a  proclamation  of  the  Gospel  ;  and  that  this 
preaching  of  the  Gospel,  moreover,  is  there  plainly  said  to  be,  "  that 
the)'  might  li\-e  according  to  God  in  the  spirit."  Whence,  it  is 
argued,  this  makes  it  perfectly  clear  that  the  Gospel  was  preached 
by  our  Lord  after  he  was  put  to  death  in  the  flesh  and  quickened 
in  the  spirit  in  the  world  of  the  dead,  to  the  antediluvian  sinners, 
and  that  this  was  done  for  their  salvation  ;  whence,  again,  it  is 
inferred  that  this  life  docs  not  end  the  opportunity  for  salvation. 

In  considering  this  verse  it  is  of  importance  to  observe,  that  it 
is  not  said  in  this  passage  nor  in  the  context  that  the  dead  of  this 
verse  are  the  dead  antediluvians  spoken  of  in  chap.  3rd.  This  is 
merely  an  inference  of  expositors.  That  such  a  reference  is  in  itsell 
I)Ossiblc,  need  not  be  denied,  but  it  will  not  do  to  assume  it  without 
proof  When  we  look  for  proof  of  this,  it  is  not  eas)-  to  find.  On 
the  contrary,  there  is  much  that  points  to  an  entirely  different  refer- 
'•nce  of  the  words.  The  very  terms  of  the  passage  seem  to  forbid 
'..s  to  apply  them  to  the  dead  of  the  da)-s  of  Noah.  For  it  will  not 
do  to  talce  only  the  last  half  of  the   final  clause, — "that  they  mii^ht 


NOTES   ON    PROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  281 

be  judged  according  ^o  men  in  the  flesh."  This  last-mentioned 
clause  is  in  the  same  grammatical  construction  with  the  latter  clause 
of  the  verse.  It  states  no  less  than  that  clause,  a  part  of  the  pur- 
pose of  the  preaching  here  mentioned.  The  Gospel,  we  are  herein 
told,  was  preached  to  the  dca'],  not  ONLY  in  order  that  they  might 
live  according  to  God  in  the  spirit,  BUT  ALSQ  that  they  might  be 
judged  according  to  men  in  the  flesh, — for  the  latter  purpose,  as 
much  as  for  the  former.  But  what  possible  meaning  can  we  attacli 
to  the  former  half  of  the  final  clause,  if  we  apply  it  to  the  case  of 
(liose  who  were  destroyed  in  the  days  of  Noah  ?  If  the  "judgment 
according  to  men  "  be  assumed,  as  it  commonly  is,  to  be  the  fleshl)- 
judgment  of  the  deluge,  then  what  is  meant  by  calling  that  judg- 
ment a  judgment  "  according  to  men  ?"  And,  again,  assuming  that 
that  is  the  meaning,  then  what  can  be  meant  by  saying,  as  this 
makes  the  passage  say,  that  Christ  in  his  three  days  in  the  world 
of  the  dead  preached  the  Gospel  to  those  dead  antediluvians  in 
order  "  that  they  might  be  destroyed  in  the  deluge,"  whish  deluge 
or  "judgment  according  to  men  "  occurred  more  than  two  thousand 
years  before  the  preaching  which  is  supposed  to  be  the  subject  of 
discourse  ? 

Last  of  all,  if  we  assume  this  interpretation,  what  bearing  can  it 
be  shown  to  have  on  the  argument  of  the  context  in  which  the  verse 
occurs  ?  The  purport  of  that  argument  is  to  encourage  the  Chris- 
tians of  that  time  to  arm  themselves  witii  the  martyr  spirit,  in  view 
of  "  the  fiery  trial  which  was  to  try  some  of  them,"  wherein  they 
would  be  called  upon  to  suffer  for  Christ's  sake.  What  could  a 
preaching  of  the  Gospel  to  the  dead  antediluvians  have  to  do 
with  that? 

For  these  reasons,  even  though  we  should  grant  that  the  pass- 
age in  chapter  iii.  refers  to  a  proclamation  of  the  Qospel  made  by 
Christ  to  those  who  perished  in  the  deluge,  we  should  still  be  com- 
pelled to  deny  that  these  words  in  chapter  iv.  could  refer  to  the 
same  event.     Let  the  adjective  dead,  be  referred  to  those  who  had 


2^2  FUTURE   ^UNISHMENT. 

.ilrcady  suffered  martyrdom  for  Christ's  sake,  and  all  these  difricul- 
ties  disappear.  In  the  first  place,  as  we  have  seen,  the  preaching 
must  have  preceded  in  time  the  judgment  according  to  men  in  the 
flesh,  because  it  is  said  to  have  been  IN  ORDER  TO  that  judgment 
in  the  flesh.  It  must  therefore  have  been  a  preaching  to  persons 
who  were  dead  in  deed  at  the  time  Peter  was  writing,  but  who  at 
the  time  of  the  preaching  here  mentioned  were  alive.  For  how- 
could  they  have  been  judged  in  the  flesh  after  they  were  dead  ? 
The  passage  thus  states,  as  we  understand  it,  that  the  Gospel  was 
preached  to  certain  persons  who  had  already  suffered  martyrdom 
for  Christ's  sake  and  were  now  numbered  with  the  dead,  in  order 
that  they  might  by  a  human  judgment  be  condemned,  and  thus  b\- 
suffering  glorify  their  Master,  in  thus  becoming  conformed  to  .him 
in  suffering  and  death.  But  to  continue  the  paraphrase — God  had 
yet  another  purpose  in  causing  his  Gospel  to  be  preached  to  these 
persons  ;  it  was  no  less  in  order  that  they  might  also  live  according 
to  God  in  the  spirit  ;  that  is,  that  their  death  might  be  followed  b}- 
the  same  glorious  result  as  the  death  upon  the  cross  of  the  Lord 
Jesus, — a  making  alive  in  the  spirit,  and  that  unto  glory  everlasting. 

Thus  interpreted,  the  words  form  an  argument  of  the  greatest 
pertinence  to  the  object  that  the  apostle  has  before  him  in  the  con- 
text. For  what  greater  encouragement  to  them  to  suffer  with  jo}-- 
ful  faith  and  courage  a  martyr's  death,  than  to  remind  them  of  those 
who  had  already  fallen  in  like  manner,  and  who,  although  thus 
judged  and  condemned  in  the  flesh  by  a  human  judgment,  had 
entered  into  a  higher  life  according  to  God  in  the  spirit,  therein  in 
death  and  life  becoming  more  closely  conformed  to  the  Lord  Jesus. 

Finally,  while  to  our  own  mind  these  considerations  seem  quite 
decisive  against  the  interpretation  which  makes  Peter  teach  that 
the  Gospel  was  preached  on  the  occasion  mentioned  to  the  dead 
for  their  salvation  ;  yet  even  if  all  thus  far  said  be  set  aside  as  in- 
conclusive, still  the  inference  of  a  future  offer  of  salvation  to  the 
heathen  or  to  all  will   not  yet   be  justified.     For   even   though   we 


NOTES   ON    TROBATIONISM   AND   PURGATORY.  283 

should  admit  what  the  text  does  not  say,  that  the  Gospel  was 
preached  by  Christ  during  his  three  days  in  Hades  to  the  antedi- 
luvian sinners,  and  that  some  or  all  were  saved  by  it,  which  also 
the  text  does  not  say  ;  still  this  would  not  give  us  any  adequate 
warrant  for  the  inference  that  the  Gospel  will  be  preached  in  the 
intermediate  state  to  any  others,  or  at  any  other  time.  It  has  in- 
deed been  urged  that  there  is  no  mention  of  this  work  of  preach- 
ing to  the  dead  having  ceased,  and  therefore  we  may  rightly  infer 
that  it  has  not  ceased.  But  surely  it  were  much  more  reasonable 
to  argue  that  as  there  is  no  indication  that  this  proclamation,  what- 
ever it  was,  continued  for  a  longer  time  than  the  three  days  that 
our  Lord  remained  in  the  disembodied  state,  therefore  we  have  no 
right  to  assume  that  it  continued  longer.  For  the  conditions  under 
which  the  Gospel  was  offered  to  those  souls  at  that  time — assum- 
ing, contrary  to  fact,  as  we  believe,  that  it  was  offered — were  abso- 
lutely unique.  Never  had  there  been  an  occasion  like  that  of  the 
descent  of  the  disembodied  soul  of  the  incarnate  Son  of  God  intc 
[fades,  and,  in  the  nature  of  the  case,  there  never  will  be  such  an 

>;casion  again. 

Looking  at  the  practical  aspect  of  the  question,  must  we  not 
siy  ,  with  abundant  reason,  that  in  the  face  of  such  clear  words  as 
t  lose  of  Christ  concerning  that  impassable  gulf  between  the  right- 
eo  is  and  the  wicked  in  the  other  world,  the  man  who  on  any  such 

o  isiderations  as  we  have  reviewed,  neglects  to  make  sure  of  his 
salvation  in  this  present  life,  is  what  the  Bible  so  often  calls  the 
sinner,  a  "  fool  "?  Again,  what  must  we  say  to  those  who  on  the 
ground  of  any  such  arguments,  venture  to  hold  forth  to  sinners  the 
hope  of  a  second  chance  after  death  to  repent  and  accept  Christ  ? 
And  what,  of  any  who  for  like  reasons  excuse  themselves  from  the 
most  earnest  efforts  to  carry  or  send  the  gospel  to  the  unevangel- 
ized  ?  Is  there  not  great  reason  to  fear  that  such  will  find  them- 
selves in  the  last  day  with  the  blood  of  souls  upon  their  skirts  ? 
Professor  S.  H.  Kellogg.  (Presbyterian  Review,  April  1885.) 


AGNOSTICISM. 


'One  Christmas  Eve,  in  mediaeval  times, 
Philip  Von  Sternberg,  one  who  strove  to  know 
The  enigma  of  the  worlds  of  Fact  and  Thought, 
Sat  in  th.e  midnight,  while  his  lamp  burned  dim, 
Like  his  own  unfed  spirit.     To  the  east 
A  window,  frosted,  in  the  wintry  night, 
With  ghosts  of  plumy  flowers  and  tropic  ferns 
Seemed,  of  a  sudden,  lighted  by  a  beam 
Which  was  not  dawn  or  moonlight,  but  a  star 
Unseen  before  ;  and,  gliding  through  the  glass, 
An  angel  stood,  more  radiant  than  the  mora. 
"  Surely  this  is  Athene,"  thought  the  sage 
In  his  mute  wonder.     "Will  she  give  to  me 
The  key  to  unlock  the  secret  of  the  world  ?" 
Lowly  he  bowed  his  head,  and  waited  there 
The  word  divine  philosophers  of  old 
Gave  their  life's  strength  to  hear,  but  never  heard. 
"  Philip" — the  Presence  seemed  to  say  to  him — 
Seek  not  to  solve  the  riddle  of  the  world. 
Shut  in  thy  labyrinth  of  circling  thought. 
Life,  life  alone,  in  deeds  of  use  and  love. 
Can  free  thee  from  the  dungeon  of  thy  thougnts. 
He  knoweth  the  truth  who  doth  the  Master's  will." 

"Thenceforth,  the  scholar,  self-involved,  was  lost  ; 
Philip,  the  working  saint,  appeared — and  lived 
A  life  which  was  a  steady  train  of  light. 
Whose  radiance  drowned  the  darting  swarms  of  doubts 
As  the  sun  drowns  the  meteors'  earthward  fires." 

"The  invisible  things  of  him  from  the  creation  of  tlic  world  are 
clearly  seen,  being  understood  by  the  things  that  are  made,  even 
his  eternal  power  and  Godhead  ;  so  that   thcv  are  without  excuse." 


AGNOSTICISM^!. 


EFORE  concentrating  our  attention  upon  Universalism, 
pure  and  simple,  all  that  now  remains  is  to  refer  to 
the  Agnostic  theory,  which  we  have  already  defined, 
as  follows  :  "  We  know  nothing  whatever  of  the  future 
state.  Nature  throws  no  light  upon  the  question,  and  the 
s^  Bible  reveals  nothing  of  a  definite  character  to  solve  the 
mystery.  No  one  has  ever  come  back  to  tell  us  anything  in  regard 
to  his  welfare  beyond  the  grave.  We  are,  therefore,  at  liberty  to 
think  as  we  please.  There  may  be,  and  there  may  not  be,  a  future 
world.  When  man  dies  that  may  be  the  end  of  him,  or  he  may 
enter  some  fair  land,  to  be  forever  free  from  the  ills  of  the  pres- 
ent life." 

It  is  to  be  remarked  that  the  term  Agnosticism  embraces  every 
shade  of  atheistic  and  infidel  opinion.  It  has  never,  indeed,  been 
authoritatively  defined.  Like  the  Athenians,  it  is  "an  unknown 
God  "  that  Agnostics  worship,  if  they  worship  a  god  at  all,  and  so 
varied  are  the  shades  of  belief  held  by  its  advocates,  and  so  much 
do  they  differ  as  to  a  creed,  that  no  specific  definition  can  be  given 
as  to  their  real  views. 

As  Dr.  Robert  Watts,  of  Belfast,  however,  remarks.  Agnosticism 
goes  far  beyond  its  Athenian  prototype.  The  altar,  which  Paul 
found  at  Athens  was  dedicated  "to  an  unknown  God."  The  Athe- 
nians simply  confessed  a  present  ignorance  of  God  :  the  Agnostics 
add  to  this  nescient  creed  an  article  couched  in  the  language  of 


288  KUTURK    PUNISHMENT. 

eternal  despair,  which  places  between  moral  intelligence  of  what- 
soever order,  and  the  source  whence  it  is  admitted  they  and  all 
things  proceed,  a  gulf  which  is  absolutely  impassable.  While  the 
Athenian  motto  was  "IGNORAMUS,"  we  are  ignorant,  that  of  the 
Agnostics  is  "  IGNORAMIBUS,"  we  shall  be  ignorant. 

In  the  second  century  we  find  "the  Gnostics" — the  rrien  who 
know  :  in  the  nineteenth  the  Agnostics,"  the  men  who  do  not  know, 
and  who  boast  of  their  ignorance.  The  Gnostics  held  that  man 
could  know  something  beyond  the  present  ; — that  God  is  made 
known  to  particular  men,  or  to  rhen  at  particular  times,  but  only  in 
virtue  of  a  specially  imparted  powder  of  vision.  The  Agnostics  hold 
that  beyond  the  testimony  of  the  senses,  and  the  range  of  experi- 
ence, he  knovvs  and  can  know  nothing.  "  The  vision  of  God  which  he 
sees  is  but  his  own  shadow  :  the  sight  of  heaven  which  he  beholds 
is  but  his  own  dream  ;" — that  the  existence  of  any  faculty  for 
knowing  God  is  a  delusion  ;  and  that  of  all  that  transcends  the 
data  furnished  by  observation  and  consciousness,  there  is  nothing 
but  total  and  hopeless  ignorance.  The  Gnostics  held  that  man  pos- 
sessed a  faculty,  which  far  transcended  the  natural  reason,  and  by 
which  he  had  knowledge  of  the  supernatural.  The  Agnostic  denies 
to  man  all  knowledge  of  the  infinite  and  supernatural.  The  future 
world  is  shrouded  in  impenetrable  mystery.  Agnostics  refuse  to  be- 
lieve in  the  cardinal  doctrines  of  the  Christian  creed,  such  as  the  exist- 
ence of  God  and  a  future  state,  because  as  they  allege,  the  human 
mind  is  inherently  and  constitutionally  incapable  of  ascertaining 
anything  concerning  such  things,  and  of  deciding  what  may  be  true 
and  what  may  be  false.  While  David  Hume,  the  atheistical  Scotch 
philosopher,  regarded  the  soul  as  neither  material  or  spiritual,  on 
the  theory  that  we  know  nothing  either  of  matter  or  spirit  except 
as  momentary  impressions,  the  Agnostic  says  :  "  I  believe  neither 
in  mind  nor  matter,  nor  in  a  God.' 

Agnosticism  is  not  a  new  heresy,  but  has  been  held  more  or 
less  in  every  age,  although  now  more  promincntl)'  avowed.     Call  it 


AGNOSTICISM  289 

by  its  older  names,  Nescience  or  Nihilism  or  its  newer  appellation 
it  is  the  same — it  affirms  we  know  nothing.  While  Atheists  deny 
the  existence  of  a  God  possessing  the  attributes  of  omnipotence, 
intelligence  and  will.  Agnostics  say,  that  the  nature  of,  or  existence 
of  any  God,  is  unknowable.  That  there  may  or  must  be,  some 
kind  of  iirst  cause  to  account  for  the  existence  and  order  of  the 
universe,  Agnostics  seem  to  admit.  But  instead  of  the  language  of 
Scripture,  "  In  the  beginning  God  created  the  heaven  and  the 
earth,"  they  say,  "  an  infinite  and  eternal  energy  by  which  all  things 
are  created  and  sustained,"  or  according  to  the  latest  Agnostic 
creed,  "  An  infinite  and  eternal  energy  from  which  all  things  pro- 
ceed."    The  Agnostic  creed  is  as  follows  : 

"  We  believe  in  the  conversation  of  the  physical  forces,  in  the  law 
of  evolution,  and  in  the  dissipation  of  energy.  We  believe  in  such 
other  results  of  science  as  are  known  to  us.  But  beyond  this, 
nothing  as  to  the  powers  in  the  world  is  clear  to  us.  We  know 
nothing  about  individual  immortality  ;  nothing  about  any  endless 
future  progress  of  our  species  ;  nothing  about  the  certainty  that 
what  men  call  from  without  goodness,  must  empirically  triumph 
just  here  in  this  little  world  about  us.     xA.ll  that  is  dark. 

"We  confine  ourselves  to  what  we  know  :  we  do  not  venture  into 
the  unknowable.  We  do  not  ask  about  the  first  cause  of  the  world, 
or  whether  it  has  a  final  end.  We  do  not  busy  ourselves  with  the 
beginning  of  the  universe,  if  the  universe  had  a  beginning,  nor  yet 
with  what  happens  to  living  things,  plants,  animals  or  men  after 
their  death.  We  do  not  deny  that  there  may  be  a  God  :  we  only 
deny  the  existence  of  such  a  one  as  the  Bible  sets  forth.  We  attack 
only  the  gods  whom  barbarous  peoples  have  fashioned  in  their  own 
imaginations  and  set  up  for  our  worship,  and  not  any  high  or  noble 
conception  of  a  Deity.  We  fully  admit  the  existence  of  a  great 
and  mysterious  power  or  force  in  the  universe  which  we  cannot 
understand  or  comprehend.  We  believe  in  the  great  UNKNOWN 
and  Unknowable,  and  have  no  attack  to  make  upon  this  power, 
19 


290  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

no  word  of  ridicule,  no  blasphemy  ;  but  stand  in  its  presence  with 
reverence  and  awe,  acknowledging  our  ignorance.  While,  however, 
acknowledging  this  unseen  Power,  we  decline  to  anthropomorphise 
it — to  call  it  a  PERSON  or  BEING,  and  invest  it  with  mental  and 
moral  functions  similar  to  our  own,  differing  only  in  degree  not 
in  kind. 

"  Beyond  this  universe,  all  knowledge  is  a  blank.  We  know 
nothing  as  to  what  set  this  vast  moving  mechanism  in  motion  ;  it 
may  have  moved  from  all  eternity  :  it  may  go  on  moving  ever- 
lastingly, or  it  may  wear  itself  out." 

The  Marquis  of  Oueensberry,  who  was  rejected  by  the  British 
House  of  Lords  because  he  was  an  avowed  Agnostic,  in  replying 
recently  to  Monsignor  Capel,  the  distinguished  Roman  Catholic 
lecturer,  gives  the  following,  as  the  latest  definition  of  the  Agnostic 
creed  :  "  The  Agnostic  has  never  said  there  is  no  divine,  almighty 
inscrutable  power,  which,  to  the  orthodox  mind,  would  amount  to 
the  same  thing  as  saying,  '  There  is  no  God."  He  may  object  to 
the  word  God.  He  does  so,  in  fact,  when  he  perceives  how  many 
different  impressions  the  word  conveys  in  its  attempted  definition 
of  an  unknown  power.  Not  because  he  denies  the  existence  of 
some  almighty,  inscrutable  power,  but  because  he  objects  to  the 
giving  a  name,  such  as  God  is,  to  that  which  he  believes  to  be  un- 
deftnable — aye,  unthinkable  of — by  man.  And  in  doing  this  he 
conveys  the  wrong  impression  to  the  orthodox  mind — viz. :  that  he 
is  denying  the  possibility  of  the  existence  of  any  such  power  that 
may  be  unknown.  The  question  then,  really,  between  the  ortho- 
dox thinker  and  the  Agnostic  is  not  a  question  of  the  denial  of  the 
possible  existence  of  an  inscrutable  power,  but  a  squabble  over  the 
right  of  attempting  to  define  it." 

Thus  the  Agnostic,  unlike  the  Atheist  who  boldly  says  "  there 
is  no  God,"  tries  to  keep  his  mind  in  this  suspended  state  of  doubt, 
yielding  neither  to  the  evidences  that  God  is,  nor  to  the  theories 
which  would  account  for  the  universe  without  a  God.     A  century 


AGNOSTICISM.  291 

ago  men  were  more  positive,  in  their  convictions  and  avowals.  The 
revolutionary  Atheists  of  France,  issued  a  decree  prohibiting  the 
worship  of  God,  dethroning  him  from  His  supremacy,  and  in  the 
Cathedral  of  Notre-  Dame  knelt  before  a  new  deity  of  their  own 
selection,  the  Goddess  of  Reason,  personified  by  a  degraded  woman. 
In  the  language  of  Coleridge  depicting  the  blasphemy  of  that  age  : 

"  Forth  from  his  dark  and  lonely  hiding-placc, 
(Portentous  sight !)  the  owlet  Atheism, 
Sailing  on  obscene  wings,  athwart  the  noon. 
Drops  his  blue-fringed  lids  and  holds  them  close. 
And  hooting  at  the  glorious  sun  in  heaven  cries  out, 
'  Where  is  it  ?' " 

But  Agnosticism  stops  short  of  such  an  honest  declaration  of 
its  creed.  It  falls  back  upon  the  ignorance  of  man  as  to  what  lies 
back  of  the  outward  appearance  of  things.  It  acknowledges  the 
facts  and  forces  of  the  universe,  but  denies  that  we  can  go  behind 
them  and  affirm  anything  positive  of  their  origin.  "  Every  house  is 
built  by  some  man,"  says  the  Theist.  "  Yes,"  replies  the  Agnostic, 
"  but  as  to  who  or  what  built  all  things  we  do  not  know,  for  we 
were  not  there." 

Yet  such  men  deny  that  they  are  Atheists.  They  only  ignore 
God.  Belief  in  a  supreme  Being  was  perhaps  a  useful  hypothesis, 
in  the  ages  prior  to  civilization  and  culture,  but  the  better  judgment 
of  men  now  sees  in  nature,  sufficient  to  account  for  all  the  material 
and  moral  changes  in  the  world.  Belief  in  a  personality  that  sur- 
vives the  grave,  is  now  an  exploded  dogma,  and  trust  in  a  God  of 
omnipotent  power  and  infinite  wisdom,  is  no  longer  regarded  as  a 
requisite  to  man's  happiness.  Like  the  prayer  said  to  have  been 
offered  by  a  soldier  on  the  eve  of  battle,  the  Agnostic  says  :  "  O  God, 
if  there  be  a  God,  save  my  soul,  if  I  have  a  soul !"  Agnostics  reject 
all  forms  of  religion,  yet  claim  to  be  religious.  They  cannot  wor- 
ship in  a  Christian  church,  but  they  can  bow  the  head  before  that 
Great  Unknown  of  which  they  are  assured  only  that  IT  IS.     They 


292  FUTURE   PUNISHMKNT. 

look  on  with  pitying  eye  at  men  limiting  themselves  by  their  creeds, 
and  hindering  the  day  of  their  emancipation,  but  anticipate  hope- 
fully a  time  when  culture  shall  have  taken  the  place  of  ignorance, 
and  men  will  reverence  more  and  more  the  phenomenal  and  the 
unknown  NOUMENAL  behind  it,  and  gradually  the  one  creed  that 
will  rise  on  the  ruins  of  all  others  will  be,  that  "  amid  all  the  mys- 
teries, which  become  more  mysterious  the  more  they  are  thought 
about,  there  will  remain  the  one  absolute  certainty,  that  man  is  ever 
in  the  presence  of  an  Infinite  and  Eternal  Energy,  from  which  all 
things  proceed." 

One  Is  amazed  to  understand  how  intelligent  men,  far  less  such 
as  profess  a  profound  knowledge  of  the  advanced  science  and  phil- 
osophy of  the  age,  can  subscribe  to  such  a  creed,  and  endeavor  to 
urge  its  acceptance  upon  others.  "  Hopeless,  because  Godless,"  in 
the  language  of  the  apostle,  is  its  characteristic.  Hitherto  ignor- 
ance of  God  has  been  regarded  as  a  calamity  or  a  sin.  Now  it  is 
taught  to  be  a  necessity  of  reason.  Agnosticism  is  formulated  as 
a  Philosophy,  defended  as  a  Theology,  and  hallowed  as  a  Religion. 
It  is  not  to  be  denied  as  Dr.  McCosh  remarks,  that  Mr.  Herbert 
Spencer,  one  of  the  prominent  apostles  of  this  system,  has  advanced 
certain  bold  generalizations,  that  may  in  the  end  be  established  as 
the  profoundest  laws  of  the  knowable  universe.  "  But  starting  with 
the  unknown  and  unknowable,  he  sets  agoing  a  mechanical  devel- 
opement  out  of  physical  data.  In  which  there  is  no  requirement  of 
moral  law  and  no  free  will,  the  whole  ending  in  a  conflagration, 
having  as  the  ashes  only  the  unknown  and  unknowable  with  which 
it  started."     Principal  Caird  of  the  University  of  Glasgow  says  : 

"If  this  philosophy  be  true,  It  is  the  apotheosis  of  zero,  its  high- 
est type  of  religion  would  be  sheer  vacuity  of  mind,  and  of  all  human 
beings  the  Idiot  would  be  the  most  devout.  The  God  of  whom  It 
proves  us  to  be  ignorant  is  not  the  God  either  of  reason  or  of  reve- 
lation— nor  our  Infinitely  wise,  holy,  loving,  gracious  Father  in  the 
Heavens,  who  has  manifested    Himself,  His  very  nature  and  being, 


AGNOSTICISM.  293 

in  the  perfect  manhood  of  Christ — but  a  mere  metaphysical  ab- 
straction, loveless,  lifeless,  inane,  of  whom  you  can  neither  affirm 
anything  nor  deny  anything  ;  who  may,  therefore,  be  just  as  likely 
foolish  as  wise,  malignant  as  benign,  evil  as  good.  Who  cares  to 
be  told  that  we  labor  under  an  inherent  incapacity  of  knowing  such 
a  God  ?  These  teachers  come  to  us  with  an  air  of  humility  ;  their 
philosophy  is  vaunted  as  the  suppressor  of  all  pride  of  reason. 
"  Vain  man  would  be  wise,"  say  they  ;  "  but,  henceforth,  let  intellec- 
tual arrogance  hide  its  head.  Let  not  human  reason  presume  to 
erect  itself  into  the  criterion  of  truth,  or  to  scan  the  being  and 
ways  of  the  Infinite  !"  But  there  is  no  real  lesson  of  humility  in 
such  teaching.  It  IS  a  humiliating  acknowledgment  that  through 
indolence  or  moral  obliquity  we  lack  a  knowledge  which  we  might 
have  possessed,  but  there  is  no  humility  in  confessing  a  necessary 
and  involuntary  ignorance.  It  does  not  imply  any  great  meekness 
of  spirit  in  a  man  to  admit  that  he  cannot  fly,  or  walk  on  the  sea, 
or  that  he  does  not  possess  a  7th,  or  loth,  or  20th  sense — for  all 
these  are  natural  incapacities  which  distinguish  no  one  man  from  his 
neighbors.  And  so  it  is  not  humiliating  to  acknowledge,  with  our 
philosophers,  that  we  do  not  know  that  which  no  mortal,  no  finite 
being,  by  any  conceivable  effort  could  ever  know." 

It  is  not  indeed  difficult  to  summarize  certain  consequences  that 
must  follow  the  acceptance  of  such  a  creed.  To  deny  that  God  is 
a  person,  naturally  and  logically  leads  to  the  denial  of  man's  per- 
sonality. "  He  is  only  a  highly-developed  set  of  phenomena  flower- 
ing out  from  a  hidden  root — the  unknowable  unknown."  Next,  the 
denial  of  a  God  must,  to  be  consistent,  be  followed  by  the  denial  of 
a  future  state.  Agnosticism  teaches  that  of  another  life  there  are 
no  tidings  and  few  suggestions — a  possibility,  or  perhaps  a  proba- 
bility, but  no  hope.  Even  this  possibility  is  denied  by  many,  and 
the  probability  against  such  a  life  argued  as  a  certainty.  All  the 
analogies  of  nature  are  interpreted  to  prove  the  extinction  of  man's 
being  at  the  moment  of  death.      No  God,  or  none  that  can  be 


294  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

known,  or  worshipped,  or  loved  ;  no  soul,  nothing  but  a  succession 
of  experiences  proceeding  under  an  inevitable  law  ;  no  immortality ; 
nothing  but  a  future  influence  as  useless  as  our  lives,  since  it  pro- 
ceeds from  shadows,  and  only  shadows  are  to  be  influenced  by  it ; 
no  eternal  laws  of  right  and  wrong  ;  no  blame  for  guilt,  or  praise 
for  patient,  self-denying  service  ;  no  religion,  and  no  true,  high  and 
hopeful  life,  for  either  the  here  or  the  hereafter — this  is  the  creed  of 
the  creedless  Agnostic,  the  belief  of  unbelievers,  for  which  wc  arc 
asked  to  give  up  the  faith  and  worship  of  our  fathers. 

It  is  true  that  all  Agnostics  do  not  hold  all  the  articles  of  this 
creed  of  unbelief  Perhaps  very  few  do.  But  that  is  because  they 
are  not  logical.  He  who  accepts  the  premises — no  power  in  me  to 
perceive  the  invisible — cannot  logically  stop  short  of  the  conclusion  : 
no  God,  no  soul,  no  immortal  future,  no  right  and  wrong,  for  these 
are  all  invisible.  When  we  have  thrown  faith  away,  logic  can  give 
us  for  a  God  only  a  hypothetical  IT  ;  for  a  conscious  personality,  a 
succession  of  phantasmagoria  ;  for  a  triumphant  immortality.  Nir- 
vana ;  and  for  Right  and  Wrong,  eternal  and  immutable,  a  supreme 
allegiance  of  conscience  (if  there  be  a  conscience)  to  the  commu- 
nity. There  is,  in  a  word,  no  true  resting  place  between  the  full 
faith  of  the  Christian  in  the  Christian's  Father-God,  and  the  abso- 
lute negation  of  all  faith,  the  sorrowful  contentment  of  a  mind 
which  has  emptied  itself  of  all  hope,  and  is  at  rest  only  because  it 
has  ceased  to  strive  against  a  fate  which  is  as  inexorable  as  it 
is  cruel. 

In  perfect  consistency  then.  Agnostics  teach  that  another  life 
would  be  of  no  value,  that  it  is  weak  and  ignoble  to  expect  it,  and 
that  an  ideal  existence  in  the  lives  of  others  by  the  continuance  ot 
our  thoughts  and  activities,  is  all  that  is  necessary  to  complete  and 
perfect  man's  destiny.  In  an  account  given  of  a  funeral  service  in 
New  York  City  conducted  by  Professor  Felix  Adler,  an  apostle  of 
this  new  philosophy,  these  words  occur  :  "  I  am  here  in  the  name  of 
you  all,  to  pronounce  the  last  words  of  farewell :  Friends,  I  say  the 


AGNOSTICISM.  295 

last  word — a  long,  sweet  good  night "!  And  more  recently  when 
Dr.  Damrosch  the  great  musician  died,  and  the  coffin  lay  before 
the  vast  audience  which  filled  the  Metrooolitan  Opera  House  from 
floor  to  dome,  and  he  is  called  upon  to  speak  to  the  solemn  and  sor- 
rowing hearts  in  that  vast  assembly,  this  is  all  his  message  :  "  I 
have  come  to  lay  upon  this  bier  three  wreaths.  The  wreath  of 
success  :  he  had  just  grasped  it  when  death  paralyzed  his  arm,  and 
it  dropped  from  his  helpless  hand.  I  pick  it  up  and  lay  it  on  his 
bier.  The  wreath  of  fame  :  his  name  we  will  cherish  though  he  is 
gone  ;  he  is  no  more,  but  the  memory  of  his  honored  life  lives  on. 
The  wreath  of  an  earthly  immortality  :  we  may  not  see  his  face 
again,  but  his  influence  survives  him,  and  shall  reproduce  his  spirit 
in  our  earthly  lives."  What  a  barren  consolation  beside  the  prom- 
ise, "In  my  Father's  house  are  many  mansions  ;  I  go  to  prepare  a 
place  for  you  ;  and  if  I  go  and  prepare  a  place  for  you,  I  will  come 
again,  that  where  I  am,  there  ye  may  be  also  ;"  or  beside  the  tri- 
umphant Welcome  to  a  death  no  longer  grim  :  "  This  corruptible 
must  put  on  incorruption,  and  this  mortal  must  put  on  immortality. 
Death  is  swallowed  up  in  victory.  O  death,  where  is  thy  sting? 
O  grave,  where  is  thy  victory  ?" 

It  is  freely  admitted  that  there  are  many  things,  matters  of 
divine  revelation,  which  must  be  accepted  by  faith,or  not  at  all,  which 
the  human  mind  cannot  understand  or  grasp.  We  see  them  but 
through  a  glass  darkly,  and  only  know  them  in  part.  Such  doc- 
trines as  the  Trinity,  the  origin  of  evil,  the  method  of  the  Spirit's 
operations  upon  the  soul,  embracing  God's  sovereignty  and  man's 
free  agency — the  state  of  the  disembodied  between  death  and  the 
resurrection,  the  nature  of  the  resurrection  body,  the  manner  and 
time  of  the  Lord's  return  to  earth,  the  heavenly  state  and  the  nature 
of  future  punishment — these  are  only  outlined  to  human  concep- 
tion, a  dark  veil  prevents  us  entering  the  holy  shrine,  where  such 
things  belong  ;  "they  are  placed  behind  a  crystal  banner,  transpar- 
ent but  strong,"  so  that  however  reverently  we  may  study  them,  we 
cannot  handle  them  and  examine  them  on  every  side. 


290  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

"But  to  know  that  we  know  nothing,  is  already  to  have  reached 
a  fact  of  knowledge.  When  a  man  says,  that  the  Power  which  rules 
the  universe  is  inscrutable  to  him,  he  is  not  merely  making  a  state- 
ment that  he  knows  nothing  about  it — he  is  making  a  positive  and 
not  a  negative  statement :  he  is  declaring  that  the  Power  which 
rules  the  universe  has  awakened  within  him  a  sense  of  mystery,  and 
has  caused  him  to  become  conscious  of  a  barrier  to  his  own  con- 
sciousness. To  feel  that  the  primal  force  of  the  universe  is  inscru- 
table is  to  be  conscious  of  our  own  ignorance,  and  to  be  one  step 
removed  from  absolute  ignorance,  is  to  know  something  of  God, 
To  know  something  of  God,  is  to  have  something  of  God  in  us. 
The  life  which  perceives  its  human  limitation  has  already  in  some 
sense  surmounted  its  limits  ;  and  it  can  only  hav^e  surmounted  its 
limits  by  having  received  into  some  phase  of  its  being,  a  portion  of 
that  illimitable  force  whose  presence  has  created  within  a  vision  of 
the  illimitable." 

"  For  surely  there  is  hope  to  find, 

Wherever  there  is  power  to  seek  ; 
And  we  could  never  think  or  speak 
Of  light,  had  we  from  birth  been  blind." 

But  this  is  very  different  from  the  allegations  of  Agnostics,  who 
teach  that  nothing  can  be  known  of  God  and  the  future ;  that  to 
ascribe  personality  to  the  Supreme  Being  is  unphilosophical ;  that 
the  affirmation  of  theology,  regarding  the  incomprehensible  God,  is 
unjustifiable  ;  that  there  can  be  no  knowledge  of  supersensual  ob- 
jects ;  that  the  mind  cannot  be  perceptive  beyond  the  impressions 
received  through  the  senses,  and  that  we  cannot  even  say  whether 
there  is  a  being  outside  of  and  controlling  this  visible  world.  Regard- 
ing the  more  important  and  fundamental  doctrines  of  the  Christian 
creed.  Agnosticism  says  they  cannot  be  known,  and  no  one  can 
make  an  honest  profession  of  knowing  them  ;  the  mind  is  inher- 
ently and  constitutionally  incapable  of  ascertaining  anything  regard- 
ing such   themes  ;  the  powers   bestowed  upon  the  creature  by  the 


AGNOSTICISM.  297 

Creator  are  not  trustworthy,  and  cannot  be  relied  upon  ;  religion 
and  revelation  must  therefore  be  rejected  as  presenting  only  cre- 
dentials which  the  human  mind  is  incapable  of  testing,  and  therefore 
there  can  be  no  real  objective  knowledge  of  God  and  divine  things. 
Agnosticism  does  not  say  that  there  is  no  God,  no  immortality,  no 
future  state  of  rewards  and  punishments,  no  heaven  and  no  hell,  but 
it  says  no  one  can  predicate  with  perfect  assurance  that  such  a  being 
and  such  things  exist.  It  is  blank  infidelity  as  regards  all  that  con- 
cerns man  in  his  present  relations  to  his  Maker  and  his  future  con- 
dition in  the  world  to  come — death,  in  the  language  of  the  Agnostic, 
is  after  all  a  leap  in  the  dark. 

Spurgeon's  description  of  sucn  a  creed  is  perhaps  as  good  as 
any  that  can  be  found.  Speaking  of  such  men  he  says  :  "  They 
are  as  a  rolling  thing  before  the  whirlwind,  having  no  fixed  basis, 
no  abiding  foundation  of  belief.  They  set  themselves  as  industri- 
ously to  breed  doubt  as  if  salvation  came  by  it.  Doubt  and  be 
saved  is  ^heir  Gospel.  Such  uncertainty  suits  me  not.  I  must 
know  something  or  I  cannot  live.  I  must  be  sure  of  something,  or 
I  have  no  motive  from  which  to  act.  God  never  meant  us  to  live 
in  perpetual  questioning.  His  revelation  is  not,  and  cannot  be 
that  shapeless  cloud,  which  certain  philosophic  divines  make  it  out 
to  be.  There  must  be  something  true,  and  Christ  must  have  come 
into  the  world  to  teach  us  something  saving  and  reliable.  There 
is  assuredly  some  ascertainable,  infallible,  revealed  truth  for  com- 
mon people,  something  sure  to  rest  upon.  Until  the  preacher 
knows  the  Gospel  in  his  own  heart  as  the  power  of  God  unto  sal- 
vation, let  him  sit  on  the  penitent  form,  and  ask  to  be  prayed  for, 
but  never  enter  a  pulpit."  How  different  from  the  negative,  halting, 
uncertain  attitude  of  certain  teachers  in  our  day,  who  speak  of  the 
Bible  as  only  an  uncertain  and  progressive  revelation,  are  the  clear 
ringing  words  of  the  late  Dr.  Candlish,  when  he  says  :  "  I  avow  it 
as  my  sole  aim,  to  advocate  as  best  I  may,  that,  not  only  is  the 
word  of  God  in  the  Bible,  but  that  the  Bible  is  itself  in  the  strictest 


298  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

and  fullest  sense,  in  every  particular  of  its  contents,  and  in  every 
expression  which  it  uses,  the  infallible  word  of  the  only  living  and 
true  God." 

Now  in  opposition  to  Ac,mosticism,  we  hold  that  God  is  not 
unknowable.  "  If  there  are  some  who  know  Him  not,  it  is  because 
they  have  determined  before  hand  that  He  is  unknowable  ;  if  they 
see  Him  not,  it  is  because  they  have  raised  a  cloud  before  their 
eyes  ;  if  they  hear  Him  not,  it  is  because  they  scorn  to  hearken. 
It  is  because  they  consider  Him  a  problem  of  Euclid  to  be  dem- 
onstrated, and  approach  Him  with  the  intellect,  and  leave  the  heart 
behind."  If  unknowable,  to  all  practical  purposes,  he  ceases  to 
exist,  and  as  to  loving  a  God  of  whom  we  know  nothing,  and  of 
whose  very  existence  we  are  in  doubt,  the  thing  is  impossible.  We 
believe  that  God  has  given  us  an  infallible  revelation — we  believe 
in  the  fact  of  human  depravity — we  believe  in  the  incarnation, 
death,  and  the  resurrection  of  Christ — we  believe  in  the  testimony 
of  Scripture,  that  atonement  is  necessary  for  the  remission  of  sin, 
and  believing  that  those  who  avail  themselves  of  the  salvation 
offered  by  Christ  shall  be  saved,  and  those  who  reject  it  shall  be 
lost,  we  must  come  to  certain  conclusions  as  to  a  future  existence, 
and  cannot  if  we  would,  treat  such  momentous  questions  with  in- 
difference. 

That  men  can  avow  such  absolute  and  abject  ignorance  ;  that 
they  should  not  only  be  contented  with  such  a  negative  creed,  but 
compass  sea  and  land  to  make  new  diciples,  is  marvellous  in  an  age, 
when  the  deepest  problems  of  philosophy,  are  being  solved,  and 
new  evidence  discovered,  not  only  of  the  being  of  a  God,  but  of  a 
far-reaching  and  unending  future,  when  He  shall  reveal  Himself 
still  more  clearly  to  the  gaze  of  perfected  humanity.  No  man,  it 
seemr,  to  me,  can  be  an  agnostic  with  the  convictions  of  conscience 
within  him,  apart  altogether  from  the  teaching  of  the  Bible.  The 
old  Hebrew  patriarchs  saw  God  everywhere,  not  as  an  object  of 
superstitious  devotion,  but  as  the  sublime  ruler  of  the  universe.  Tlie 


AGNOSTICISM.  299 

globe  was  not'materialized  as  it  is  to-day,  and  deified.  God  was 
associated  in  their  minds  with  everything  in  external  nature,  and 
so  it  should  be  to-day,  with  the  increased  acuteness  of  mind,  that 
characterizes  civilized  and  christian  lands.  The  beauty  and  grandeur 
and  wise  adaptations  of  nature,  should  call  forth  the  intelligent  ador- 
ation of  every  reflecting  mind.  "  Insects  as  well  as  angels,  the 
flowers  that  spangle  the  meadow,  as  well  as  the  stars  that  spangle 
the  sky,  the  lamp  of  the  glow-worm  as  well  as  the  light  of  the  sun, 
the  lark  that  sings  in  the  air  and  the  saint  that  is  singing  in  Par- 
adise, the  still,  small  voice  of  conscience  as  well  as  the  thunders 
that  rend  the  clouds,  or  the  trump  that  shall  rend  the  tomb,  these 
and  all  things  else  reveal  God's  attributes  and  proclaim  His  praise." 

The  men  who  advocate  Agnostic  principles,  are  not  generally 
examples  of  humility,  but  are  boastful  of  their  intellectual  powers. 
It  is  not  an  honest  consciousness,  and  frank  acknowledgment  of 
the  littleness  of  the  creature,  compared  with  the  Creator,  that  makes 
them  profess  such  utter  helplessness  in  arriving  at  some  distinct 
idea,  of  the  nature  of  that  shoreless  eternity  upon  which  we  are 
soon  to  enter.  It  is  rather  the  pride  of  human  reason,  that  chal- 
lenges the  need  of  a  superior  being.  Vain  conceited  man  would  in 
the  language  of  Pope  : 

"Snatch  from  his  hand  the  balance  and  the  rod, 
Rejudge  his  justice,  be  the  God  of  God." 

Schiller,  whose  muse  was  conscience,  well  says : 

"  God  hides  himself  behind  eternal  laws, 
Which,  and  not  Hirt    the  skeptic  seeing,  exclaims, 
There  is  no  God  ; 

And  never  did  a  Christian's  adoration 
So  praise  Him  as  this  skeptic's  blasphemy." 

Augustine  spent  many  years,  m  a  vain  endeavor  to  grasp  the 
doctrine  of  the  Trinity  in  its  full  significance.  He  rushed  one  day 
with  burning  brow,  to  seek  the  breezes  of  the  seaside.     He  found 


300  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

there  a  child  wno  had  scooped  away  the  sand,  and  was  pouring 
water  into  the  hole  he  had  made.  With  boyish  glee  the  youth  told 
the  grey-haired  saint,  in  answer  to  his  question,  that  he  would  dip 
all  the  waters  of  the  ocean  and  pour  them  into  the  sand.  "  No, 
no,"  replied  Augustine,  "your  hollow  will  not  hold  the  ocean,  and 
can  I,  a  creature,  comprehend  the  Creator  ?"  Theology  is  indeed, 
as  Lyman  Beecher  says,  a  mighty  deep.  It  has  its  calms  and 
storms,  its  joys  and  dangers.  Weak  souls,  and  some  strong  ones 
also,  may  be  wrecked  if  they  venture  too  far  without  taking  their 
proper  bearings.  But  this  is  very  different  from  saying  that  there 
is  nothing  certain  in  the  whole  circle  of  Christian  doctrine,  and  that 
we  have  no  fuller  knowledge  of  God  than  the  agnosticism  of  the 
old  Athenian  altar.  There  are  certain  revealed  truths  that  we  are 
as  assured  of  as  we  are  of  our  own  existence.  Should  we  hold  our 
peace  concerning  them,  the  very  stones  would  cry  out  against  us 
and  rebuke  our  infidelity. 

The  story  is  told  us  of  a  young  German  Countess  who  lived 
about  a  hundred  years  ago — a  noted  unbeliev-er,  and  especially  op- 
posed to  the  doctrine  of  the  resurrection.  She  died  when  about 
thirty  years  of  age,  and  before  her  death  gave  orders  that  her  grave 
should  be  covered  with  a  solid  slab  of  granite  ;  that  around  it 
should  be  placed  a  square  block  of  stone,  and  that  the  corners 
should  be  fastened  to  each  other  and  to  the  granite  slab  by  heavy 
iron  clamps.  Upon  the  covering  this  inscription  was  placed  :  "  This 
burial  place,  purchased  to  all  eternity,  must  never  be  opened."  All 
that  human  power  could  do  to  prevent  any  change  in  that  grave 
was  done,  but  a  little  seed  sprouted,  and  the  tiny  shoot  found  its 
way  between  the  side  stone  and  the  upper  slab,  and  grew  there 
slowly  but  steadily,  forcing  its  way  until  the  iron  clamps  were  torn 
asunder  and  the  granite  lid  was  raised,  and  is  now  resting  upon  the 
trunk  of  the  tree,  which  is  large  and  flourishing.  Thus  does  nature 
silently  foreshadow  the  unfoldings  of  the  future  with  its  resurrection 
to  damnation  or  eternal  life. 


AGNOSTICISM.  301 

Agnosticism  it  has  well  been  said,  can  never  become  the  creed 
of  the  great  body  of  any  people  ;  but  should  it  ever  be  taught  by 
the  science  and  philosophy  of  the  day,  its  influence  on  the  youths 
who  might  be  led  not  to  amuse  themselves  with  it,  but  by  faith  to 
receive  it,  would  be  that  they  would  find  some  of  the  hindrances  to 
vice  removed,  and  perhaps  some  of  the  incentives  to  evil  encour- 
aged. Under  its  blighting  influences,  humanity  would  retrograde  and 
repeat  the  barbarism  of  the  dark  ages.  It  fails  to  satisfy  the  yearn- 
ings of  the  soul  ;  it  takes  from  man,  all  those  consolations  that 
sustain  in  the  hour  of  trial :  it  affords  no  help  to  bear  patiently, 
the  burdens  of  the  present  life  :  it  gives  no  promise  of  a  future,  for 
which  this  is  but  a  preparation,  and  sheds  no  light  upon  the  grave. 
Frederick  Harrison  the  Apostle  of  Humanitarianism,  as  against 
Herbert  Spencer's  Agnosticism  (although  both  systems  are  essen- 
tially Atheistic)  with  merciless  sarcasm,  thus  shows  the  falsity  and 
futility  of  the  latter.  A  child  looks  up  in  the  wise  and  meditative 
face  of  the  Agnostic  philosopher  and  says :  Oh  !  wise  and  great 
master,  what  is  religion  ?  He  tells  that  child,  it  is  the  presence  of 
the  unknowable.  But  what  asks  the  child  am  I  to  believe  about 
it?  Believe  THAT  you  can  never  know  anything  about 
IT !  And  a  mother  wrung  with  agony  for  the  loss  of  her  child,  or 
the  wife  crushed  by  the  death  of  her  children's  father,  or  the  help- 
less and  the  oppressed,  the  poor  and  the  needy,  men,  women  and 
children,  in  sorrow,  doubt,  and  want,  longing  for  something  to  com- 
fort them  and  to  guide  them,  something  to  believe  in,  to  hope  for, 
to  love  and  to  worship — they  come  to  the  philosopher  and  they 
say.  Your  men  of  science  have  routed  our  priests  and  have  silenced 
our  old  teachers.  What  religious  faith  do  you  give  us  in  its  place? 
And  the  philosopher  replies  (his  full  heart  bleeding  for  them) 
"  Think  on  the  Unknowable  !" 

If  such  a  theory  can  never  be  accepted  by  the  masses,  much 
less  can  it  ever  become  the  creed  of  a  sound  philosophy.  The 
remark  that  a  really  great  man  cannot  be  a  Materialist   is  founded 


302  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

on  reason.  He  is  conscious  of  something  within  him  superior  to 
the  subtlest  forms  and  forces  of  matter.  Neither  can  he  be  an 
Agnostic,  for  he  finds  the  image  of  God's  attributes  and  the  echo 
of  God's  voice  in  his  soul.  This  consciousness  of  immortality  which 
is  inseparable  from  true  genius,  is  beautifully  expressed  by  the  late 
Victor  Hugo  when  he  says  : 

"There  are  no  occult  forces,  there  are  only  luminous  forces. 
Occult  force  is  chaos,  the  luminous  force  is  God.  Man  is  an  infi- 
nitely little  copy  of  God  ;  this  is  glory  enough  for  man.  I  am  a 
man,  an  invisible  atom,  a  drop  in  the  ocean,  a  grain  of  sand  on  the 
shore.  Little  as  I  am,  I  feel  the  God  in  me,  because  I  can  also 
bring  form  out  of  my  chaos.  I  make  books  which  are  creations.  I 
feel  in  myself  the  future  life.  I  am  like  a  forest  which  has  been 
more  than  once  cut  down — the  new  shoots  are  stronger  and  livelier 
than  ever.  I  am  rising,  T  know,  toward  the  sky.  The  sunshine  is 
on  my  head.  The  earth  gives  me  its  generous  sap,  but  heaven 
lights  me  with  the  reflection  of  unknown  worlds.  You  say  the  soul 
is  nothing  bu*-  the  resultant  of  bodily  powers.  Why,  then,  is  my 
soul  the  more  'uminous  when  my  bodily  powers  begin  to  fail  ? 
Winter  is  on  my  head,  and  eternal  spring  is  in  my  heart.  There  I 
breathe  at  this  hour  the  fragrance  of  the  lilies,  the  violets,  and  the 
roses,  as  at  twenty  years  ago.  The  nearer  I  approach  the  end,  the 
plainer  I  hear  around  me  the  immortal  symphonies  of  the  worlds 
which  invite  me.  It  is  marvellous,  yet  simple.  It  is  a  fairy  tale, 
and  it  is  history.  For  half  a  century  I  have  been  writing  my 
thoughts  in  prose  and  verse — history,  philosophy,  drama,  romance, 
tradition,  sat'«-e,  ode.  ard  song — I  have  tried  all.  But  I  feel  I  have 
not  said  the  thousandth  part  of  what  is  in  me.  When  I  go  down 
to  the  grave  I  can  say,  like  so  many  others,  "  I  have  finished  my 
day's  work,"  but  I  cannot  say  "  I  have  finished  my  life."  My  day's 
work  will  begin  again  the  next  morning.  The  tomb  is  not  a  blind 
alley  ;  it  is  a  thoroughfare.  It  closes  on  the  twilight  to  open  with 
the  dawn." 


AGNOSTICISM.  303 

To  ask  men  to  give  up  the  stable  truths  of  Revelation  for  such 
a  baseless  system,  is  presumptuous  folly  :  to  ask  them  to  worship 
an  unknown  and  unknowable  divinity,  instead  of  a  living,  personal, 
almighty  and  all-wise  God,  is  an  insult  to  man's  judgment.  And 
yet  this  is  what  Agnosticism  vainly  seeks  after.  On  the  principle 
that  ignorance  is  the  mother  of  devotion,  Agnostics  put  forth  high 
claims  for  their  theory,  because  of  the  reverence  and  awe  which 
this  unknown  essence  is  fitted  to  inspire.  "  But  there  can  be  no 
true  reverence  or  affection  cherished  towards  anything  that  is  un- 
known. The  mind  does  not  experience  the  emotion  of  the  beauti- 
ful, or  the  grand,  or  the  sublime,  when  the  objects  necessary  to 
awaken  it  are  absent,  or  kept  in  abeyance.  The  same  is  true  of  the 
moral  emotions.  They  can  have  no  existence,  where  there  have 
not  been  presented  to  the  moral  agent  the  materials  for  a  moral 
judgment.  We  experience  the  emotion  of  awe  toward  nothing 
which  does  not  impress  us  by  the  manifestations  of  awe-inspiring 
attributes.  And  when  these  emotions  of  awe  and  reverence  rise 
into  the  sublime  rapture  of  genuine  adoration,  their  elevation  is  due 
not  to  cessation  of  thought,  but  to  the  apprehended  glory  of  Him, 
before  whose  presence  the  seraphims  veil  their  vision  with  their 
wings.  Agnosticism,  despite  its  pretensions,  must  be  adjudged 
unphilosophic,  unscientific,  and  irreligious." 


NOTES  ON  AGNOSTICISM. 


to 


NOTES  ON  AGNOSTICISM. 


F  MAN  is  naturally  ungodly  and  ungrateful,  he  is  not 
■^M  naturally  an  atheist.  Mankind  are  disposed  to  believe 
f^]i      in  a  being,  or  at  least  a  power,  above  this  world,  regu- 


lating it,  and  making  it  bestow  those  gifts  which  we 


P  are  constantly  receiving.  I  am  not  inclined  to  maintain 
that  this  belief  is  gendered  by  some  separate  instinct,  or  God 
consciousness,  as  the  German  theologian,  Schleiermacher,  calls  it. 
It  is  the  product  simply  of  the  ordinary  operating  powers  of  the 
mind,  as  men  observe  the  world  above  and  around  them,  and  the 
still  more  wonderful  world  within.  We  have  as  clear  proof  of  the 
being  of  God  as  we  have  of  the  existence  of  our  fellow  creatures. 
I  am  conscious  of  my  own  soul  ;  and  it  is  a  very  easy  and  a  very 
logical  argument  which  leads  me  to  be  sure  that  my  fellow  men 
also  have  souls.  I  discover  intelligent  acts,  and  I  conclude  that 
there  must  be  intelligent  actors.  On  the  same  principle,  on  discov- 
ering the  adaptation  of  one  thing  to  another,  and  the  wonderful 
provision  made  for  the  protection  and  preservation  of  sentient  crea- 
tures, I  argue  a  designing  mind.  In  the  exercise  of  my  intelligence 
I  discover  intelligence,  and  benevolence  as  well,  everywhere  around 
me.  I  must  absolutely  abnegate  my  own  intelligence  if  I  am  not 
allowed  to  perceive  intelligence  in  that  plant,  in  that  animal,  in 
these  goodly  frames  of  ours,  and  in  the  bounties  daily  received  by 
us.  There  thus  comes  a  voice  from  without  us,  re-echoed  in  the 
depths  of  our  own  hearts,  proclaiming  a  power  to  be  revered  and 
loved. 


308  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

As  observing  these  things,  as  feeling  in  this  way,  there  is  an 
impulse  prompting  every  man  to  acknowledge  this  superior  power 
or  being,  and  in  a  sense  to  worship  it — -the  worship  all  the  while,  in 
consequence  of  the  weakness  and  ungodliness  of  our  nature,  being 
so  far  an  ignorant  one.  When  special  favors  are  bestowed,  man's 
natural  propensity  is  to  give  thanks — it  may  be,  to  an  unknown 
God.  When,  on  the  other  hand,  sudden  calamity  comes,  he  is 
tempted  to  rebel  against  the  power  which  has  prostrated  him,  but 
quite  as  frequently  the  prayer  will  burst  from  him,  "  O  God  help 
me!"  When  man  is  in  perplexity,  and  knows  not  whither  to  turn, 
he  feels  relief  in  appealing  to  One.  who  from  a  greater  height,  sees 
farther  fhan  he  himself  does.  When  we  have  wandered,  we  look 
anxiously  round  for  some  one  to  show  us  the  right  path.  When 
we  are  sinking  in  the  waves,  we  cry  for  a  hand  to  lift  us  up.  These 
spontaneous  impulses  and  acts  of  the  heart  are  the  homage  which 
mankind  unconsciously  pay  to  God  and  to  religion. 

The  leading  philosophic  and  religious  error  of  this  day  is  not 
Unitarianism,  which,  in  fact,  is  dead  and  laid  out  for  decent  burial. 
It  is  not  Rationalism,  for  thinking  men  now  see  that  human  reason 
cannot  construct  a  religion.  It  is  not  exactly  Atheism.  Few  are 
so  bold  as  to  assert  or  argue  that  there  is  no  God.  They  claim  : 
"  We  do  not  deny  the  existence  of  God,  we  are  not  so  presumptous 
as  this  ;  we  make  no  denials,  we  simply  maintain  that  we  have 
no  evidence."  The  most  influential  error  of  the  day,  the  one 
underlying  every  other,  is  what  is  called  "  Agnosticism."  The 
founder  of  it  in  modern  times  is  David  Hume,  usually  called  the 
Skeptic  ;  he  would  be  called  in  the  present  day  an  Agnostic. 
According  to  this  system  we  do  not  know  things,  we  simply  know 
appearances  ;  and  we  know  not  and  cannot  know  whether  there  is 
any  reality  beyond,  or,  if  there  be,  what  the  reality  is.  Its  sup- 
porters virtually  affirm  that  truth  cannot  be  found.  When  thor- 
oughly and  conscientiously  carried  out,  it  means  that  we  cannot 
know  anything.     More  frequently  it  means  that  we  cannot  discover 


NOTES   ON   AGNOSTICISM.  309 

any  truth  beyond  what  the  senses  reveal,  that  we  can  have  no  cer- 
tainty of  spiritual  truth,  or  indeed  of  moral  truth,  except  as  utility, 
or  the  power  of  imparting  pleasure. 

This  want  of  creed,  or  rather  sentiment,  is  lowering  the  moral 
tone  and  religious  faith  of  educated  young  men.  It  is  bred  in  the 
damps  of  the  earth  ;  it  rises  up  and  is  in  the  air  ;  it  covers  the 
heavens  from  the  view,  and  we  breathe  it  as  malaria.  It  is  easy  to 
show  that  it  is  suicidal.  It  is  contradictory  to  maintain  that  we 
know,  that  we  can  know  nothing.  But  when  we  have  done  this, 
we  have  not  destroyed  the  error  any  more  than  we  have  killed  a 
specter  by  thrusting  a  sword  into  it.  For  the  strength  of  its  de- 
fense, is,  that  supposed  truth  is  contradictory,  and  therefore  not  to 
be  believed.  The  only  way  to  meet  it  is  to  stand  firm,  and  to  point 
to  truth  which  we  know  as  being  self  evident,  and  which  we  are 
constrained  to  believe. 

What  we  have  to  do  with  those  who  favor  the  system  is  to  set 
the  truth  before  them  and  let  it  shine  in  its  own  light.  We  know 
that  we  exist,  we  know  that  others  exist.  Proceeding  on  in  the 
same  way,  we  find  that  God  exists,  that  we  are  capable  of  knowing 
the  distinction  between  right  and  wrong,  and  that  we  are  responsi- 
ble to  God  for  the  deeds  done  in  the  body,  whether  they  have  been 
good,  or  whether  they  have  been  evil.  We  have  as  strong  evidence 
of  the  higher  and  spiritual  truths  as  we  have  of  the  lower.  I  have 
evidence  that  I  exist,  but  I  have  also  proof  that  God  exists,  the 
Author  of  my  being.  These  men  would  accept  the  lower  truths, 
what  can  be  seen  and  felt  in  pleasure  and  in  pain,  in  what  they  eat, 
and  what  they  drink,  in  meat  and  in  money,  and  some  are  anxious 
to  secure  as  many  earthly  goods  as  possible.  Their  Agnosticism^ 
practically,  and  in  fact,  consists  simply  in  their  affirming  and  trying 
to  persuade  others,  especially  young  men,  that  we  know  nothing  of 
the  higher  truths,  of  moral  and  spiritual  truth,  of  God,  of  immor- 
tality, and  a  judgment  day.  This  is  the  deadly  influence  of  the 
system.    It  is  seeking  to  kill  the  germs  of  spiritual  life,  which  are 


3IO  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

deep  down  in  our  nature,  so  as  to  keep  them  from  germinating.  It  is 
undermining  the  faith  of  the  rising  generation,  and  holding  back 
all  the  aspirations  of  the  soul,  which  lead  to  high  ideals,  and  to 
deeds  of  heroism  and  self-sacrifice.  It  is  filling  the  air  with  doubts, 
difficulties,  uncertainties,  and  perplexities. 

It  can  be  shown  that  we  have  good  and  valid  proofs  of  these 
higher  truths  of  morality  and  religion,  even  as  we  have  of  the  lower 
ones  of  sense  and  sight.  If  we  neglect  either  kind  of  truth,  evil 
consequences  must  follow.  If  we  do  not  eat  and  drink,  we  must 
die.  If  we  refuse  to  believe  in  ethical  and  spiritual  truth,  we  offend 
God  and  must  suffer  the  penalties  of  a  broken  law,  and  live  without 
the  grand  belief  and  hopes  that  elevate  and  cheer  the  mind.  God 
is  declared  in  His  works.  "  The  heavens  declare  the  glory  of  God," 
the  whole  earth  is  full  of  His  praise.  It  is  the  declared  doctrine  of 
Paul,  and,  I  may  add,  of  the  highest  philosophy  which  ever  carries 
us  up  to  this  high  region.  "  The  in^visible  things  of  God  are  clearly 
seen,  being  understood  from  the  things  that  are  made,  even  His 
eternal  power  and  Godhead." — Rev.  jAMES  McCoSH,  D.  D.,  Presi- 
dent, Princeton  College,  N.  J. 


AGNOSTICISM. 


BY  Tirn: 

REV'D    JOHN    BURTON,  B.  D., 
TORONTO. 


HE  late  Sir  William  Hamilton,  in  his  discussions  on 
mental  philosophy,  wrote  :  "  The  last  and  highest  con- 
secration of  all  true  religion  must  be  an  altar  Ag- 
NOSTO  TllEO,  to  the  unknown  and  unknowable  God." 
Agnostic  is  a  word  anglicised  during  the  latter  half  of  this 
nineteenth  century.  Worcester's  large  dictionary  of  1864 
does  not  contain  it.  It  has  fallen  to  the  lot  of  this  present  genera- 
tion, to  erect  in  the  midst  of  our  Christian  civilization  and  thought, 
the  Athenian  altar  anew,  to  worship  the  unknown  and  the  un- 
knowable. 

There  has  been  much  conjecture  as  to  the  occasion  of  such  an 
altar  being  erected  as  Paul  found  in  Athens.  There  is  a  story  of 
a  pestilence  being  stayed  by  Epimenides  taking  white  and  black 
sheep  to  the  Areopagus,  letting  them  go,  and  commanding  those 
who  followed  to  sacrifice  them  when  they  stopped, to  the  god  to  whom 
these  things  pertained.  Thus,  it  is  said,  the  custom  began  of  dedi- 
cating altars  to  Gods  unknown. 

To  us  the  suggestion  has  greater  probability,  that  the  Athenian 
altar  was  an  outcome  of  schools  of  philosophy,  which,  very  much 
after  that  Sir  Wm.  Hamilton  followed,  taught  the  hopelessness  of 


312  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

man  scclving  to  know  the  Infinite.  We  know  such  teachings  pre- 
vailed, the  cry  of  ''moo^nnce.  the  evasion  of  responsibility.  Among 
the  rich  ♦-reasu'-es  or  the  past  in  the  Vatican  at  Rome,  is  an  altar 
tablet  dug  up  at  Ostia,  on  which  is  inscribed  "  Signum  indeprehensi- 
bilis  dei " — The  sign  of  the  incomprehensible  God.  At  Sais,  a 
sacred  city  of  Lower  Egypt,  over  the  veil  of  the  presiding  deity 
Isis, there  is  said  to  have  been  the  inscription :  "  I  am  all  that  has  been, 
and  all  that  is,  and  all  that  shall  be,  and  no  mortal  hath  lifted  mj- 
veil."  It  will  be  seen  therefore  that  the  "  Unknown  "  and  the 
"  Unknowable  "  God,  is  not  a  mere  conception  of  modern  thought, — 
that  humility  of  oliilosophy  which  would  thus  belittle  man's  powers, 
the  old  world  had.  There  is  little  new  in  human  thought,  there- 
fore, we  propose  no  novelty  in  meeting  the  Agnostic  position,  that 
God  cannot  be  known.  Nor  shall  I  attempt  a  philosophical  trea- 
tise, only  in  so  far  as  metaphysics  meet  us  in  its  more  popular 
form,  wilJ  any  effort  be  made  to  make  manifest  its  subtleties. 

Any  conception  we  may  have  of  God  must  be  of  an  infinite 
being,  at  least  thus  have  we  been  taught  ;  but  says  Agnosticism, 
the  finite  cannot  know  the  infinite,  therefore  God  cannot  with  cer- 
tainty be  known.  Speaking  in  general  terms,  there  exists  a  belief, 
primitive  or  evolved  it  matters  not,  in  infinity.  Is  this  belief  a 
mere  negation  ?  a  conviction  simply  of  ignorance  ?  That  we  can 
form  no  picture  of  the  infinite  is  confessed,  that  it  surpasses  know- 
ledge is  true  ;  but  did  Paul  write  nonsense  when  he  wrote  of  "know- 
ing that  which  passeth  knowledge?"  Eph.  iii.  19.  We  can  form 
no  image  of  boundless  space  or  of  endless  existence,  and  yet  if  on 
morning  wings  we  fly  to  the  outmost  bound  of  visible  creation,  we 
are  irresistibly  carried  on  in  thought  to  the  beyond,  and  death  com- 
pels the  conviction  of  an  "  after  death."  The  conceptions  may 
not  be  grasped  in  their  vastness,  but  they  are  real  conceptions,  and 
matters  of  irresistible  conviction.  What  being  is  we  may  not  be 
able  to  divine  ;  that  It  Is,  we  are  constrained  to  confess,  let  reason 
do  its  worst  or  its  best.     Our  knowledge   may  be  bounded  within 


AGNOSTICISM.  313 

the  bounds  we  know  ;  but  the  consciousness  of  a  bound  is  not 
merely  negative,  it  carries  with  it  the  irresistible  conviction  of  a 
beyond.  When  then  the  Agnostic  speaks  to  me  of  God  as  "the 
Eternal  Why,  to  which  no  man  has  replied  ;  the  Infinite  Enigma, 
which  no  Sphinx  has  solved,"  1  can  only  say  the  Why  exists,  the 
Enigma  remains  ;  and  my  entire  spiritual  nature  rebels  against  the 
negative  creed  :  from  its  impotence,  and  from  the  compelled  ambi- 
guity of  terms,  I  turn,  and  I  say,  the  Why  must  be  answered,  the 
Enigma  must  be  read. 

What  do  men  mean  when  they  say  they  know  ?  Plainly  we  do 
not  know  the  fragrance  of  spring  flowers  as  we  know  the  hardness 
of  stone  ;  the  latter  gives  a  sense  of  resistance  to  our  touch,  the 
other  brings  simply  a  pleasurable  sensation  ;  in  popular  speech,  we 
have  a  knowledge  of  both.  What  do  we  know  of  the  social  rela- 
tions of  life  ?  Can  a  child  prove  his  relationshship  to  father, 
brother,  or  relatives  ?  And  }^et  society  rests  securely  on  this  know- 
ledge of  faith.  The  child  accepts  the  relationship  first  as  a  simple 
matter  of  surroundings,  then,  experience  confirming,  the  faith  of 
childhood  grows  into  the  assurance  of  manhood  ;  and  this  article  of 
faith  possesses  more  practical  strength  than  many  beliefs  logically 
demonstrated.  I  readily  admit  it  to  be  an  easy  matter  to  raise 
doubts  about  this  or  anything,  but  I  suspect  we  should  listen  some- 
what impatiently  to  a  demand  that  every  man  should  prove  his 
parentage,  upon  the  same  principle  that  would  satisfy  an  engineer 
that  a  bridge  was  safe.  The  piano  tuner  does  not  adjust  the  strings 
by  the  same  faculty  a  mason  employs  in  building  his  wall  perpen- 
dicular ;  aud  a  man  may  know  perfectly  that  a  line  of  posts  is 
straight,  yet  be  utterly  unable  to  discern  the  shade  of  a  picture.  To 
ask  that  we  should  know  God,  who  is  spirit,  as  we  know  even  an 
electric  shock,  would  therefore  seem  to  be  an  absurdity.  Before 
we  accept  Agnostic  helplessness  as  our  Ultima  Thule,  we  may 
justly  enquire  whether  there  may  not  be  an  overlooked  faculty,  by 
means  of  which  we  may  discern  a  God. 


314  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

An  old  and  skeptical  surgeon  is  reported  to  have  said,  that  he 
had  dissected  many  bodies  and  cut  into  many  a  living  frame  with- 
out finding  any  trace  of  a  soul.  I  have  examined  many  vegetable 
cells  under  the  microscope,  without  finding  any  trace  of  that  life 
which  causes  to  bud  and  bloom.  I  never  expect  to  see  life  by 
means  of  a  lens.  Is  life  the  less  a  reality,  because  neither  surgeon's 
knife  or  optician's  glass  discern  it  ?  Nor  can  science  lay  bare  the 
living  God  to  the  heart  of  man.  We  must  search  for  God  in  that 
region  where  his  presence  is  to  be  found,  and  not  speak  of  an 
unknowable,  because  a  God-discerning  faculty  has  been  neglected 
or  overlooked,  or  because  other  senses  have  failed  to  see.  When 
Paul  wrote,  "the  world  through  its  wisdom  knew  not  God,"(i  Cor. 
i.  2i),  he  wrote  not  merely  a  fact  in  history,  but  also  one  of  the  most 
profound  of  philosophic  truths.  God  is  not  to  be  discovered  by  the 
teaching  of  the  schools,  nor  to  be  worked  out  as  a  problem  in 
mathematics.  That  does  not,  however,  declare  him  to  be  either 
unknown  or  unknowable.  Paul's  declaration  still  stands  that  the 
truth  of  God  may  be  known  :  "  because  that  which  may  be  known 
of  God  is  manifested  in  them.  For  the  invisible  things  of  Him 
since  the  creation  of  the  world  are  clearly  seen,  being  perceived 
through  the  things  that  are  made,  even  his  everlasting  power  and 
divinity."     Rom.  i.  19-20. 

The  Christ  taught :  "  The  pure  in  heart  shall  see  God."  Matt 
V.  8.  If  this  be  true — it  is  at  least  reasonable — we  need  not  rise  on 
fancy's  wing,  or  search  through  infinite  space,  nor  walk  along  lines 
of  intricate  reasoning.  God  is  known  to  the  humble  heart,  revealed 
to  the  contrite  spirit,  the  pure  in  heart — they  see  Him.  Let  but 
the  eyes  of  such  an  heart  be  opened,  and  like  the  servant  of  Elisha 
of  old,  we  shall  find  ourselves  environed  by  His  glory.  "There  are 
sanctities  of  life  and  of  duty,  of  home  and  affection,  of  sympath)' 
and  of  helpfulness,  of  penitence  and  of  prayer,  which  daily  speak 
of  him  to  those  who  will  lend  an  ear.-  Let  these  be  neglected  or 
profaned,  and  we  do  not  wonder  if  earth  loses  its  consecration,  and 


AGNOSTICISM.  315" 

speaks  no  more  of  God.  Let  them  be  reverenced,  and  wherever  m 
the  history  of  mankind,  or  among  our  fellows,  we  observe  lives 
moved  by  high  aspiration,  cherishing  loyalty  to  duty,  and  that  rev- 
erence for  goodness  and  truth,  which  speaks  of  the  great  destiny  to 
be  revealed,  we  must  also  acknowledge  the  revelation  of  the  Most 
High."  This  is  the  truth  of  Isaiah  Ivii.  17.  The  evil  heart  is  the 
hiding  from  us,  of  the  light  of  God's  countenance.  No  man  need 
expect  a  revelation  of  God,  as  he  follows  after  covetousness.  Surely 
the  sordid  spirit  is  not  the  sense  by  which  to  perceive  the  God  of 
mercy,  nor  the  ways  of  sin  the  means  to  discern  the  Lord  of  right- 
eousness and  truth.  The  old  prophets  taught  true  philosophy  in 
such  verses  as  Isaiah  Ixvi.  1-2. 

Here  the  rejoinder  is  ready,  that  this  is  simply  the  heart  mak- 
ing its  own  God.  Let  us  examine  this  a  moment.  Is  the  multi- 
plication table  a  fiction  because  man  has  formulated  it,  and  the 
mind  needs  culture  to  comprehend  it  ?  Is  the  difference  between 
notes  unreal,  because  the  practised  ear  alone  can  nicely  adjust 
them  ?  Men  do  not  take  a  stunted  flower  or  a  deformed  animal  to 
describe  a  class  or  a  species.  Why  take  the  distorted  life,  or  the 
faculties  of  the  lower  plane  to  discern  and  to  verify  the  true  relation 
sustained  to  the  infinite  ?  It  is  not  to  an  imperfect  telescope  the 
astronomer  looks  for  his  discoveries,  nor  to  the  ill  constructed 
model,  the  mechanic,  whereby  his  invention  may  be  tested.  True. 
discoveries  have  been  made  with  the  aid  of  poor  instruments,  and 
mechanisms  tested  by  inferior  models.  So  the  poor  Indian  with 
untutored  mind,  may  see  God  in  clouds,  and  hear  Him  in  the  wind. 
Nevertheless  we  desire  keener  spiritual  sight,  whereby  to  discern 
the  King  in  His  beauty,  and  the  land  that  is  afar  off 

It  is  a  great  thing  to  be  a  conscientious  man.  We  must  respect, 
even  with  fear,  a  man  who  orders  himself  by  the  sense  of  duty. 
What  is  duty  if  it  be  not  a  sense  of  relationship  to  a  moral  power, 
not  ourselves  ?  And  what  moral  power  can  there  be  without  per- 
sonality ?  Evolution  would  account  for  conscience  and  for  its  moral 


3l6  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

cicstinctions,  by  the  accumulated  experience  of  the  race  finding 
certain  lines  of  action  to  be  in  the  main  such  as  give  pleasure.  Yet 
herein  is  the  marvel.  There  IS  a  special  course  of  action  which 
ultimately  prevails,  which  is  exactly  the  position  of  the  writer  of 
Ecclesiastes  :  "  Though  a  sinner  do  evil  an  hundred  times,  and  pro- 
long his  days,  yet  surely  I  know  that  it  shall  be  well  with  them 
that  fear  God."  Ecclesiastes  viii.  12-13.  Only  the  Bible  makes  the 
Evolutionists  course  of  nature  the  way  of  God,  which  at  least  has 
the  virtue  of  simplicity. 

How  are  we  to  get  gold  from  a  vault  if  it  has  not  been  put 
there?  An  empty  pocket  is  helpless  in  the  world's  exchange.  How 
is  evolution  to  take  place  where  involution  has  not  been  ?  Whence 
came  the  possibility  of  that  evolved  sense  of  responsibility?  My 
conscience  brings  me  into  the  very  presence  of  a  Being  who 
searches  the  heart  and  trieth  the  reins  of  the  children  of  men.  I 
cannot  evade  the  conviction  ;  and  when  the  gospel  proclaims  the 
way  of  access  to  God  to  be  by  faith,  and  faith  to  be  gained  by 
obedience  :  "  If  any  man  will  do  His  will,  he  shall  know  of  the  doc- 
trine," I  cannot  say  God  is  unknowable  until  I  have  endeavored 
in  that  way.  He  that  is  of  the  truth  heareth  my  voice,  saith  the 
Christ,  to  understand  which,  even  though  we  cannot  at  first  em- 
brace, we  must  be  at  least  willing  to  "  enter  in." 

Leaving  out  of  question  the  character  of  the  Bible  as  a  direct 
revelation  from  God,  it  is  at  least  a  wonderful  record  of  human 
experience,  and  it  speaks  of  a  knowledge  some  at  least  have  gained. 
"  Beloved,  let  us  love  one  another :  for  love  is  of  God,  and  every 
one  that  loveth  is  begotten  of  God,  and  knoweth  God,  for  God  is 
love."  The  record  of  the  life  that  found  not  God  in  THIS  way  of 
seeking,  has  yet  to  be  written,  has  yet  to  be  found. 

Reader,  your  life,  what  is  it  ?  A  sacrifice  upon  an  altar  to  an 
unknown  God  ?  or  a  consecrated  service  to  the  God  of  love  ?  The 
spirit  of  the  age  may  say,  "  where  is  thy  God  ?"  Nevertheless  God 
has  written  His  witness  on  ever)'  heart  that  waiteth  for  Him  ;  and 


AGNOSTICISM.  317 

the  man  who  enters  teachably  the  school  of  Christ,  will  learn  with 

an  assurance  not  to  be  gainsaid,  "  He  that  hath  seen  the  Christ  hath 

seen  the  Father." 

Agnosticism  is  Pessimism.     We  do  not  need  it.     Christianity 

sings ; 

"O  hearts  of  love  !     O  souls  that  turn, 
Like  sunflowers,  to  the  pure  and  best ! 
To  you  the  truth  is  manifest, 
For  they  the  mind  of  God  discern 
Who  lean,  like  John,  on  Jesus'  breast.' 


UNIVERSALISM. 


"And  is  there  in  God's  world  so  drear  a  place 
Where  the  loud  bitter  cry  is  raised  in  vain  ? 
Where  tears  of  penance  come  too  late  for  grace, 
As  on  th'  uprooted  flower  the  genial  rain  ? 

"Tis  even  so  :  the  sovereign  Lord  of  souls, 

Stores  in  the  dungeon  of  his  boundless  realm, 
Each  bolt,  that  o'er  the  sinner  vainly  rolls, 
With  gather'd  wrath  the  reprobate  to  whelm." 

"These  shall  go  away  into  everlasting  punishment;  but  the 
righteous  into  life  eternal,"  "  If  any  man  shall  add  unto  these 
things,  God  shall  add  unto  him  the  plagues  that  are  written  in  this 
book :  And  if  any  man  take  away  from  the  words  of  the  book  of 
this  prophecy,  God  shall  take  away  his  part  out  of  the  book  of  life 
and  out  of  the  holy  city." 


UNIVERSALISM. 


HE  word  Universalism  is  used  in  two  senses  :  as  the 
.  J;^  common  appellation  of  a  whole  system  of  faith,  and  as 
IMdIA  the  name  of  a  single  distinctive  doctrine.  Universal- 
ists  profess  to  believe  and  teach  the  authenticity,  gen- 
uineness and  inspiration  of  the  Holy  Scriptures,  in  the  same 
manner  as  they  are  held  by  Christians  generally.  They 
believe  that  the  Old  and  New  Testaments  contain  the  revealed  will 
of  God  ;  and,  with  all  Protestants,  they  maintain  that  the  Bible  is 
the  only  and  sufficient  rule  of  faith  and  practise.  They  believe  and 
teach  the  existence  of  the  one  living  and  true  God,  the  Creator, 
Preserver,  and  Governor  of  all  worlds,  beings,  and  things.  They 
believe  that  God  is  self-existent,  independent  and  eternal :  omnis- 
cient and  omnipotent :  infinite  in  wisdom,  goodness  and  power  : 
in  justice,  mercy  and  truth.  They  believe  that  to  manifest  his 
love  for  the  human  race,  God  sent  his  son  Jesus  Christ  into  the 
world,  to  reveal  more  perfectly  the  divine  character  and  purposes, 
and  finally,  through  death  and  the  resurrection,  to  bring  life  and 
immortality  to  light.  They  believe  in  the  Holy  Spirit,  whose  fruits 
in  the  believing  soul  are  love,  joy,  peace,  longsuffering,  &c.  ;  in  the 
necessity  of  repentance,  and  reformation  of  heart  and  life  :  in  the 
new  birth,  or  change  of  heart,  effected  in  the  soul  by  a  cordial  belief 
of  gospel  truth,  and  accompanied  by  the  sanctifying  influences  of 
the  Holy  Spirit :  in  the  importance  of  good  works,  not  to  purchase 

salvation  or  gain  the  love  of  God — for  salvation  is  of  free  grace 
21 


3^2  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

alone — but  as  the  natural  fruits  of  the  .i^ospcl  cordially  received,  the 
evidences  of  indwelling-  grace,  and  because  they  are  good  and 
profitable  to  men. 

They  believe  in  the  universal  resurrection  of  the  dead  :  in  a  life 
and  immortalit}-  for  the  human  race  beyond  the  grave,  where  the 
mortal  shall  put  on  immortality,  and  where  men  can  die  no  more, 
but  shall  be  as  the  angels,  and  be  children  of  God. 

They  reject  the  doctrine  of  vicarious  atonement,  and  assert  the 
fundamental  truth  that  every  transgressor  must  suffer  the  punish- 
ment of  his  own  sins,  either  here  or  hereafter. 

They  teach  the  forgiveness  or  removal  of  sin,  but  not  of  pun- 
ishment. 

They  deny  the  doctrine  of  total  depravity  and  original  sin,  and 
assert  the  natural  goodness  of  the  human  heart. 

They  teach  that  salvation  is  not  deliv^erance  from  the  torment'^ 
of  an  endless  hell,  but  from  the  bondage  of  sin  ;  that  it  is  inward 
and  spiritual,  and  not  from  any  outward  evil. 

They  teach  the  necessity  of  repentance  and  regeneration  as  the 
equivalent  of  salvation  ;  that  there  can  be  no  salvation  without 
these,  since  without  them  there  can  be  no  abandonment  of  sin. 

They  teach  that  all  punishment,  whether  here  or  hereafter,  is 
corrective,  and  must,  therefore,  come  to  an  end. 

And  finally,  that  through  the  agencies  of  His  infinite  wisdom 
and  love,  God  will  reconcile  and  restore  all  souls  to  himself. 

Briefly  stated  the  Universalist  creed  is  as  follows  :  "  That  there 
is  one  God,  whose  nature  is  love,  revealed  in  one  Lord  Jesus  Christ 
by  one  holy  spirit  of  grace,  who  will  finally  restore  the  whole  family 
of  mankind  to  holiness  and  happiness."  Or,  quoting  the  language 
of  a  prominent  minister  of  the  denomination,  who  has  written 
largely  in  defence  of  the  doctrine,  it  may  be  expressed  in  the  fol- 
lowing terms  :  "  All  nations  who  ever  have,  do  now,  or  will  here- 
after exist  on  earth,  all  whom  God  has  made,  or  ever  will  make  in 
our  world,  shall  in  due  time  be  brought  into  a  condition  of  mind 


UNIVERSALISM.         "  323 

and  heart  to  worship  the  Lord  in  the  beauty  of  holiness.  It  is  God's 
will,  His  purpose,  His  determination  that  all  men  shall  be  saved 
and  come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  truth." 

It  ought  in  fairness  to  be  added,  that  Universalists  are  not  fully 
agreed  upon  all  points  of  doctrine.  They  differ  in  their  views 
regarding  the  freedom  of  the  will,  some  adopting  the  theory  of 
Edwards,  and  others  that  of  his  opponents,  and  also  as  to  the  place 
and  duration  of  punishment,  some  believing  in  limited  punishment 
in  the  future  state,  and  others  not.  In  these  points,  however,  they 
are  all  agreed  :  1st.  That  a  being  of  infinite  wisdom,  power  and 
benevolence,  never  would  bring  into  existence  creatures  to  be  etern- 
ally miserable.  2nd.  That  the  eternal  existence  of  sin  is  incompa- 
tible with  the  holiness  of  God.  3rd.  That  the  sins  of  finite  creatures 
never  can  merit  eternal  punishment.  4th.  That  inasmuch  as  every 
benevolent  man  desires  the  salvation  of  the  race,  it  is  not  to  be 
supposed  that  God  is  less  benevolent  than  His  creatures. 

The  orthodox  or  evangelical  view  of  future  punishment  as 
opposed  to  Universalism  is  as  already  stated  :  Future  punishment 
is  everlasting.  At  death  the  state  is  fixed  for  eternity.  No  man 
who  dies  impenitent  will  after  death  change  his  character  and  obtain 
pardon.  Sin  is  self  propagating.  Where  sin  continues  punishment 
will  continue.  Reform  in  another  state  of  existence  is  not  suppos- 
able.  Men  who  persevere  in  sin  from  the  beginning  to  the  end  of 
life  will  persevere  in  sin  forever,  and  such  as  refuse  forgiveness  here 
will  never  obtain  it  hereafter.  It  is  appointed  unto  men  once  to 
die,  and  afterwards  there  comes — not  probation — not  the  offer  of 
mercy,  but  the  judgment. 

Thus  far  we  have  seen  that  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment 
is  attacked  on  all  sides.  Some  teach  that  there  is  no  future  exist- 
ence after  death  ;  others  that  there  is  no  hell ;  others  again,  that  it 
matters  little,  whether  they  suffer  or  not.  Universalists,  who  form- 
erly denied  all  future  punishment,  on  the  grounds  that  it  would  be 


324  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

evidence  of  the  cruelty  of  God,  now  believe  in  a  punishment  that 
comes  to  an  end.  It  is  not  now  taught  that  nobody  goes  in,  but  that 
everbody  gets  out.  That  has  an  end,  of  which  they  said  formerl}-, 
it  had  no  beginning.  Hell  is  now  said  to  be  on  the  way  to  heaven 
a  sort  of  training  school, — as  against  the  old  doctrine,  that  it  was 
the  final  portion  of  such  as  refused  heaven.  This  much  however 
is  certain,  that  belief  in  some  kind  of  future  punishment  is  increas- 
ing, although,  the  almost  universal  belief  as  to  its  nature  and  dura- 
tion, may  be  changing.  Indeed,  save  in  the  case  of  materialists, 
who  deny  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  the  fact  of  future  punishment 
is  conceded.  We  need  not  then  perplex  ourselves  so  much  about 
its  nature,  if  we  believe  that  the  sinner  shall  assuredly  suffer  the 
full  penalty  of  his  sin.  Is  it  possible  for  sin  to  exhaust  power  in  a 
being  who  dies  impenitent?  Is  there  anything  in  God's  word,  or 
in  the  divine  character,  that  gives  reasonable  hope  of  future  restor- 
ation to  the  favor  and  friendship  of  God  ?  This,  more  than  the 
nature  of  future  retribution,  is  the  all  important  question  we  have 
to  solve — and  that  not  so  much  by  the  teachings  of  nature,  and  the 
conflicting  opinions  of  reason,  as  by  the  testimony  of  God's  word. 
Every  one  knows,  however,  that  Universalists  have  not  confined 
themselves  to  this  simple  question,  but  have  endeavored  to  bias 
simple  minds  by  asserting  that  the  generally  accepted  creed  of  the 
Christian  Church  declares  punishment  to  be  not  only  endless,  but 
consisting  of  physical  torture.  The  writings  of  Jonathan  Edwards 
have  been  largely  quoted  in  support  of  this  view.  And  in  such 
sermons  as  "Sinners  in  the  hands  of  an  angry  God,"  if  we  make  no 
allowance  for  the  age  in  which  he  lived,  the  mode  of  preaching  then 
adopted,  and  the  fervent  spirit  of  the  man  himself,  it  is  possible  to 
give  the  color  of  truth  to  such  a  belief  But  even  had  Jonathan 
Edwards  taught  explicitly,  the  bodily  torment  of  the  impenitent 
wicked,  it  would  after  all  be  simply  the  opinion  of  one  man,  and 
not  the  sentiment  of  the  Christian  world.  Not  only  so,  but  his  lan- 
guage, which   has  been  greatly  exaggerated  and   misconstrued,  to 


UNIVERSALISM.  325 

serve  a  purpose,  may  with  very  little  abatement,  be  used  in  every 
evangelical  pulpit  at  the  present  day.  His  opinions  on  the  subject, 
in  a  somewhat  condensed  form,  are  as  follows :  "There  is  nothing 
that  keeps  wicked  men  at  any  one  moment  out  of  hell,  but  the 
mere  pleasure  of  God.  There  is  no  want  of  power  in  God  to  cast 
wicked  men  into  hell  at  any  moment.  Men's  hands  cannot  be 
strong  when  God  rises  up.  The  strongest  have  no  power  to  resist 
him,  nor  can  any  deliver  out  of  his  hands.  It  is  not,  therefore, 
because  God  is  unmindful  of  their  wickedness  that  he  does  not  resent 
it — that  he  does  not  let  loose  his  hand  and  cut  them  off.  God  is 
not  altogether  such  an  one  as  themselves,  though  they  may  imagine 
Him  to  be  so.  The  wrath  of  God  burns  against  them,  their  damna- 
tion does  not  slumber  ;  the  pit  is  prepared  ;  the  fire  is  made  ready  ; 
the  furnace  is  now  hot,  ready  to  receive  them  ;  the  flames  do  now 
rage  and  glow.  The  glittering  sword  is  whetted  and  held  over 
them,  and  the  pit  hath  opened  its  mouth  under  them.  They  de- 
serve to  be  cast  into  hell  ;  justice  never  stands  in  the  way,  it  makes 
no  objection  against  God's  using  his  power  at  any  moment  to  des- 
troy them.  Yea,  on  the  contrary,  justice  calls  aloud  for  an  infinite 
punishment  of  their  sins.  They  are  already  under  a  sentence  of 
condemnation  to  hell.  They  do  not  only  justly  deserve  to  be  cast 
down  thither,  but  the  sentence  of  the  law  of  God  is  gone  out  against 
them,  and  stands  against  them,  so  that  they  are  bound  over  already 
to  hell.  The  bow  of  God's  wrath  is  bent  and  the  arrow  made  ready 
on  the  string,  and  justice  directs  the  arrow  to  your  heart  and  strains 
the  bow,  and  it  is  nothing  but  the  mere  pleasure  of  God,  and  that 
of  an  angry  God,  without  any  promise  or  obligation  at  all,  that 
keeps  the  arrow  one  moment  from  being  made  drunk  with  your 
blood.  He  will  crush  you  under  his  feet  without  mercy,  and  your 
blood  shall  be  sprinkled  on  his  garments,  so  as  to  stain  all  his 
raiment."  See,  says  the  Universalist,  after  reading  such  sentences, 
what  a  revolting  image — God  treating  the  sinner  like  the  insect, 
swollen  with  loathsome  and  venomous  juices,  which  in  a  moment 


326  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

of  hate  a  man  crushes  under  his  foot  ?  Now  \vc  submit,  such  criti- 
cism is  unfair.  It  makes  no  allowance  for  the  rhetoric  and  verbal 
drapery,  which  impassioned  and  godly  preachers  were  wont  to  use 
in  addressing  large  masses  of  unconverted  men,  on  whom  persuasion 
and  tender  words  had  no  effect  ;  it  imputes  to  them  a  doctrine  which 
they  did  not  in  many  cases  hold,  and  having  put  a  false  construc- 
tion upon  their  language,  it  makes  it  the  creed  of  the  Christian 
world. 

Other  Theologians   eminent   for  their    scholarship,   have   used 
strong  language  in   depicting  the   state   of  woe.     Dr   Pusey   says  : 
"  Gather  in  your  mind  an   assembly  of  all  those  men   and  women, 
from  whom,  whether  in  history  or  fiction  your  memory  shrinks,  (no 
fiction  can  reach  the  reality  of  sin)  gather  in  mind  all  which  is  most 
loathsome,  most  revolting,  the  most  treacherous,  malicious,  coarse, 
brutal,  invective,  fiendish  cruelty,  unsoftened  by  any  remains  of 
human  feeling,  such  as  thou  couldest  not  endure  for  a  single  hour  : 
conceive  the  fierce  fiery  eyes  of  hate,  spite,  frenzied  rage,  ever  fixed 
on  thee,  looking  through  and  through  with  hate,  sleepless  in  their 
horrible  gaze  :  felt,  if  not  seen  :  never  turning  from  thee,   never  to 
be  turned  from,  except  to   quail  under  the  piercing  sight  of  hate. 
Hear  those  yells  of  blasphemy  and  concentrated  hate,  as  they  echo 
along  the  lurid  vaults  of  hell  ;  every  one  hating  every  one,  and 
venting  that  hate  unceasingly,  with  every  inconceivable  expression 
of  malignity  :  conceive  all  this,  multiplied,  intensified,  reflected  on 
all  around  on  every  side  :  and  amid  it,  the  special  hatred  of  any 
one  whose  sins  thou  sharest,  whom  thou  did'st  thoughtlessly  en- 
courage in  sin,  or  teach  some  sin  unknown  before, — a  dcathlessness 
of  hate  were  in  itself  everlasting  misery.     A  fixedness  in  that  state 
in  which  the  hardened,  malignant  sinner  lies,  involves  without  any 
future  retribution  from  God,  endless  misery."     Archer  Butler  says : 
"The  punishments  of  hell   are  but  the   perpetual  vengeance  that 
accompanies  the  sins  of  hell.     An  eternity  of  wickedness  brings 
with  it  an  eternity  of  woe.     The  sinner  is  to  suffer  for  everlasting  : 


UNIVERSALISM.  327 

but  it  is  because  the  sin  itself  is  as  everlasting  as  the  suffering.'' 
Professor  Mansel  says  :  "  In  that  mysterious  condition  of  the  de- 
praved will,  compelled  and  yet  free  :  the  slave  of  sinful  habit,  yet 
responsible  for  every  act  of  sin,  and  gathering  deeper  condemnation 
as  the  power  of  amendment  grows  less  and  less  ;  may  we  not  see 
some  possible  foreshadowing  of  the  yet  deeper  guilt  and  the  yet 
more  hopeless  misery  of  the  worm  that  dieth  not,  and  the  fire  that 
is  not  quenched."  Spurgeon  in  one  of  his  leading  sermons  says  : 
"  Only  conceive  the  poor  wretch  in  flames.  See  how  his  tongue 
hangs  from  between  his  blistered  lips  1  How  it  excoriates  and 
burns  the  roof  of  his  mouth,  as  if  it  were  a  firebrand  !  Behold  him 
crying  for  a  drop  of  water.  I  will  not  picture  the  scene,  suffice  it 
for  me  to  say  that  the  hell  of  hells  will  be  to  thee,  poor  sinner,  the 
thought  that  it  is  to  be  FOREVER.  Thou  wilt  look  up  there  on  the 
throne  of  God — and  on  it  shall  be  written  FOREVER  ;  when  the 
damned  jingle  the  burning  irons  of  their  torments  they  shall  say 
FOREVER. 

" '  Forever '  is  written  on  then-  racks, 
'  Forever'  on  their  chains: 
'  Forever '  burneth  in  the  fire, 
'  Forever '  ever  reigns." 

We  are  sometimes  accused  of  using  language  too  harsh,  too 
ghastly,  too  alarming,  with  regard  to  the  world  to  come.  But  if 
we  could  speak  thunderbolts,  and  our  every  look  were  a  lightning 
flash,  and  our  eyes  dropped  blood,  instead  of  tears,  no  tones,  words 
or  gestures  or  similitudes  of  dread  could  exaggerate  the  awful  con- 
dition of  a  soul,  which  has  refused  the  Gospel,  and  is  delivered  over 
to  justice.  When  thou  diest,  O  sinner,  thy  soul  will  be  tormented 
alone:  that  will  be  a  hell  for  it  :  but  at  the  day  of  judgment  thy 
body  will  join  thy  soul,  and  then  thou  shalt  have  twin  hells,  thy 
soul  sweating  drops  of  blood,  and  thy  body  suffused  with  agony. 
In  fire  exactly  like  that  which  we  have  on  earth,  thy  body  will  lie, 


323  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

asbestos-like,  forever  unconsumcd,  all  thy  veins,  roads  for  the  feet 
of  pain  to  travel  on,  every  nerve  a  string  on  which  the  devil  shall 
play  his  diabolical  tune  of  hell's  unutterable  lament."  !  Such  lan- 
guaq^e  Universalists  well  know,  is  but  seldom  heard  in  evangelical 
pulpits  at  the  present  day.  Speaking  on  this  point,  Dr.  Charles 
Hodge,  who  is  generally  regarded  as  representing  the  most  rigidly 
orthodox  school  of  theology  at  the  present  day,  says  on  this  point, 
"  There  seems  to  be  no  more  reason  for  supposing  that  the  fire 
spoken  of  in  Scripture  is  to  be  literal  fire  than  that  the  worm  that 
never  dies  is  literally  a  worm.  The  devil  and  his  angels  who  are 
to  suffer  the  vengeance  of  eternal  fire,  and  whose  doom  the  finally 
impenitent  are  to  share,  have  no  material  bodies  to  be  acted  upon 
by  elemental  fire.  As  there  are  to  be  degrees  in  the  glory  and 
blessedness  of  heaven,  so  there  will  be  differences  as  to  degree  in 
the  sufferings  of  the  lost;  some  will  be  beaten  with  few  stripes, 
some  with  many." 

To  the  same  purport  also  Professor  Phelps  of  Andover  Semin- 
ary says  :  "  The  use  so  often  made  of  the  Biblical  symbol  of  FIRE, 
to  make  the  retributive  idea  odious  and  hideous,  seems  to  me  un- 
worthy of  manly  and  cultured  controversy.  We  must  expect  it 
from  ignorant  and  passionate  thinkers  ;  but  as  argument  it  is  very 
shallow.  You  and  I  know  that  that  symbol  is  not  a  dogmatic  form 
of  truth.  In  common  speech  we  use  the  same  and  similar  ideas. 
We  speak  of  "burning  passages,"  of  "fiery  lusts,"  of  "flaming 
anger."  We  tell  of  a  man  who  frothed  at  the  mouth  or  ground  his 
teeth  in  impotent  rage.  Our  Saviour  takes  similar  liberties  with 
figurative  and  dramatic  speech.  Suppose,  now,  that  some  one 
should  report  us  as  affirming  that  we  saw  a  man  roasting  over  a 
slow  fire  in  his  lusts,  or  showing  signs  of  hydrophobia  in  his  wrath. 
Would  that  be  ARGUMENT?  He  might  raise  a  ripple  of  inane 
laughter  at  his  own  conceit ;  but  would  he  discredit  our  story  ? 

"  So  I  take  all  attempts  of  men  to  render  odious  the  doctrine  of 
endless  punisliincnt,  by  putting  the  symbol  of  fire  to  a  use  for  which 


UNIVERSALISM.  329 

it  was  never  employed  by  Him  who  originated  it.  In  His  lips  it 
meant  the  most  solemn  and  appalling  reality  in  the  history  of  the 
universe,  so  far  as  it  is  known  to  us — that  guilt  at  its  climax  of 
fixed  and  finished  character  involves  in  its  own  nature  a  spiritual 
misery  which  literal  speech  cannot  portray,  and  of  which  no  other 
material  emblem  can  give  us  so  truthful  an  impression  as  that  of  a 
surging  sea  of  flame.  This,  if  it  BE  a  reality,  of  which  some  who 
walk  our  streets  and  give  us  daily  greeting  may  be  in  peril,  is  too 
terrible  a  reality  to  be  set  in  the  frame  of  burlesque." 

In  replying  to  the  question,  Is  the  future  punishment  of  the 
wicked  material  or  mental.  Dr.  Bartlett,  of  Dartmouth  College, 
U.  S.,  says  : 

"  From  the  necessity  of  the  case,  the  sufferings  of  the  lost  and 
the  blessedness  of  the  saved  are  set  forth  by  material  imagery,  the 
one  quite  as  much  as  the  other.  But  as  heaven  is  no  literal  wed- 
ding, feasting  with  Abraham,  reclining  on  his  bosom,  wearing  of 
palm  branches  and  crowns,  and  playing  on  harps,  so  we  do  not  un- 
derstand the  sensuous  imagery  concerning  the  condition  of  the  lost 
in  a  literal  sense,  but  as  accumulated  pictures  of  horror.  We  are 
also  warned  off  from  a  literal  interpretation  by  the  variety  and 
incompatibility  of  the  images,  sometimes  even  in  the  same  sentence  : 
the  worm  and  the  fire  ;  cutting  asunder,and  yet  receiving  a  'portion  ;' 
outer  darkness,  and  the  like.  These  images  have  often  been  too 
literally  pressed,  Metaphors  and  symbols,  however,  represent  a 
REALITY  and  are  images  of  dread  and  dreadful  reality.  When  we 
inquire  for  the  exact  mode  of  suffering,  it  is  left  much  in  the  same 
manner  as  the  enjoyments  of  heaven,  certain  but  undescribed.  One 
reason  probably  is,  that  in  our  present  state  it  could  not  be  fully 
made  known  to  us  ;  another,  that  no  directly  practical  object,  such 
as  the  Scriptures  always  seek,  would  be  accomplished  by  it.  Still, 
we  naturally  suppose  that  to  a  being  pre-eminently  spiritual,  the 
prime  suffering  will  be  that  of  the  spirit.  The  intensity  of  such 
sufferine  in  this  life  has  tasked  the  novelist  and  dramatist  to  des- 


330  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

cribe.  Knowing,  as  \vc  do,  something  of  the  agonies  of  env}',  hatred, 
bafflled  malignity,  remorse,  and  even  of  perpetual  disappointment 
here,  we  should  be  dull  indeed  not  to  recognize  their  probable  power 
and  stringency  there." 

Is  our  imagination,  says  a  recent  writer,  so  poor  and  barren, 
that  we  can  conceive  of  no  adequate  and  ample  form  of  punish- 
ment, without  having  recourse  to  the  figures  of  the  worm  that  dieth 
not,  and  the  fire  that  is  not  quenched  ?  A  future  world  in  itself 
must  bring  with  it  dreadful  retribution  to  the  wicked.  In  the  mere 
fact  of  their  cleared  perceptions,  in  the  realization  of  their  low  posi- 
tion, in  seeing  themselves  as  they  really  are,  in  beholding  all  those 
they  loved  and  venerated  far  before  them, — away  from  them,  fading 
in  the  bright  distance,  may  be  a  torture,  a  purifying  fire,  in  compar- 
ison with  which  the  representations  of  Dante  and  Milton  shrivel 
into  tameness  and  inadequacy. 

Because  a  certain  sect  holds  the  doctrine  of  a  purgatory  for 
children,  it  surely  is  grossly  unjust  to  argue,  as  Universalists  do, 
"that  a  large  section  of  the  Christian  Church  still  believe  in  the 
damnation  of  infants  who  die  unbaptized  !"  In  a  book  lately  pub- 
lished by  a  prominent  clergyman  of  the  broad  church  school,  the 
following  extract  is  given  from  a  Roman  Catholic  book  published 
in  England  by  the  Rev.  J.  Furniss,  in  which  he  describes  the  pur- 
gatorial fires  prepared  for  infants  :  "  The  fourth  dungeon  is  '  the 
boiling  kettle.'  Listen,  there  is  a  sound  like  that  of  a  kettle  boil- 
ing. Is  it  really  a  kettle  which  is  boiling?  No.  Then  what  is  it  ? 
Hear  what  it  is.  The  blood  is  boiling  in  the  scalded  veins  of  that 
boy,  the  brain  is  boiling  and  bubbling  in  his  head,  the  marrow  is 
boiling  in  his  bones.  The  fifth  dungeon  is  '  the  red  hot  oven,'  in 
which  is  a  little  child.  Hear  how  it  screams  to  come  out  ;  see  how 
it  turns  and  twists  itself  about  in  the  fire  ;  it  beats  its  head  against 
the  roof  of  the  oven.  It  stamps  its  little  feet  on  the  floor  of  the 
oven.     To  this   child  God  was  very  good.     Very  likcl}'  God  saw 


IJNIVERSALISM.  33 1 

that  this  ch]]d  would  g^t  worse  and  worse  and  would  never  repent, 
and  so  would  have  to  be  punished  much  more  in  hell.  So  God  in 
His  mercy  cabled  it  out  of  the  world  in  its  early  childhood."  Now 
this  may  be  the  writer's  belief,  and  that  of  the  Church  to  which  he 
belongs,  but  the  Churches  of  Christendom,  as  a  whole,  cannot  be 
committed  to  such  a  doctrine.  Such  a  style  of  argument  is  revolt- 
ing to  every  candid  mind,  and  surely  ought  never  to  be  used  b\- 
men  who  boast  so  much  of  their  reason,  in  judging  of  Scripture.  It 
is  not  the  literal  language  used  by  Christ,  in  speaking  of  future 
punishment,  that  constitutes  the  essential  idea  of  the  Christian  faith, 
but  the  fact  of  a  final  separation  between  the  good  and  the  bad. 
Sin  in  this  life  brings  its  just  recompense  in  the  next.  The  punish- 
ment continues  as  long  as  the  sin  continues,  which  for  all  that  now 
appears,  is  for  ever.  If  our  Saviour  and  his  apostles  did  not  teach 
this  doctrine — which  indeed  underlies  and  pervades  the  whole  of 
their  ethical  utterances — nothing  can  be  learned  of  the  matter  in 
dispute.  The  New  Testament  then  becomes  practically  useless,  so 
far  as  giving  us  any  reliable  information  regarding  a  future  state. 
And  certainly  if  Christ  taught  the  doctrine  of  universal  restitution 
and  restoration,  he  did  it  so  indistinctly  and  obscurely,  that  his 
hearers  and  disciples  failed  to  apprehend  it.  To  the  English  reader 
of  the  Bible,  the  plainest  and  most  obvious  doctrine  concerning 
the  destruction  of  the  wicked,  is  banishment  from  the  presence  of 
the  Lord,  and  unending  punishment. 

In  opposition  to  this,  Universalists  hold  that  by  a  course  of 
severe  discipline  and  chastisement,  continued  no  one  knows  how- 
long,  the  worst  specimens  of  human  beings  may  be — nay,  will  be — 
reclaimed  and  saved.  Man  according  to  such  a  theory,  is  not  re- 
sponsible for  the  actions  of  the  life.  He  is  the  creature  of  circum- 
stances, and  not  a  free  agent.  Sin  is  misfortune,  without  guilt.  It 
is  due  to  ignorance  and  not  wilful.  This  will  be  taken  into  account 
by  a  merciful  God,  who  cannot  consistently  doom  men  to  endless 
retribution. 


332  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Before  examining  certain  texts  of  Scripture,  which  are  differ- 
ently interpreted  by  UniversaHsts  and  orthodox  Christians,  let 
us  start  in  our  enquiry  from  what  is  common  ground  to  both  dis- 
putants, namely  :  that  sins  committed  in  the  present  life,  shall 
unquestionably  be  dealt  with  in  some  wa\'  in  the  next.  There  is 
no  difference  of  opinion  regarding  this.  What  we  sow  now  we 
shall  reap  hereafter.  "  He  that  soweth  to  the  flesh  shall  of  the  flesh 
reap  corruption,  but  he  that  soweth  to  the  spirit  shall  of  the  spirit 
reap  life  everlasting."  "  They  that  plough  iniquity,  and  sow  wicked- 
ness, reap  the  same."  "  By  the  blast  of  God  they  perish,  and  by 
the  breath  of  his  nostrils  are  they  consumed."  *,  They  that  sow 
the  wind,  shall  reap  the  whirlwind." 

Sin  perpetuates  itself.  Left  to  itself,  with  no  remedial  influences 
from  without,  it  increases  in  heinousness.  Crimes  never  sink  to 
foibles.  Passions  never  subside  into  innocent  eccentricities  or  venial 
sins.  Once  a  sinner  always  a  sinner,  is  the  law  of  moral  being,  no 
external  power  interposing.  "  Where  the  tree  falleth  it  lies,  not  by 
fatality,  but  by  the  self-perpetuating  force  of  moral  choice.  "  A 
sinner  incorrigible  in  guilt  and  matured  in  depravity,  makes  his  own 
hell.  No  damnation  can  surpass  that  which  a  malign  being  inflicts 
upon  himself.  Swedenborg  says,  that  "  God  never  thrusts  a  man 
•nto  hell  :  he  thrusts  himself  in — he  goes  of  his  own  accord."  His 
whole  nature  gravitates  thither.  If  this  is  so,  it  follows  that  pun- 
ishment will  last  as  long  as  sin  lasts,  and  he  who  remains  incorrigi- 
ble remains  under  the  just  condemnation  of  God.  No  one  can  tell 
what  awful  depths  of  wickedness  a  man  may  reach,  for  wickedness 
possesses  no  elements  of  exhaustion.  If  it  makes  a  hell  upon  earth, 
why  may  it  not  make  a  hell  in  the  future  as  everlasting  as  itself? 

If  the  seeds  of  sin  remain  in  man  at  death,  what  presumptive 
evidence  have  we  that  they  do  not  continue  to  exist  in  an  intensi- 
fied degree  in  the  future  life?  The  wicked  are  driven  away  in  their 
wickedness.  The  seeds  of  evil  rankle  in  the  soul.  When  dust  returns 
to  dust,  they  do  not   cease   to  germinate.     The\'  bear  fruit  in  the 


UNIVERSALISM.  333 

immortal  nature,  which  apart  from  the  renewing  grace  of  God,  must 
go  on  from  one  degree  of  wickedness  to  another  without  possibility 
of  change.  Character  is  thus  fixed  at  death.  The  habits,  lusts  and 
passions,  contracted  by  a  long  ''fp  of  sin  cannot  afterwards  be 
destroyed,  but,  on  the  contrary,  have  unlimited  room  for  develop- 
ment without  remedial  agency.  This  has  been  admirably  illustrated 
by  Joseph  Cook  in  his  Monday  lectures,  when  he  says :  Under 
the  physical  laws  of  gravitation  a  ship  may  careen  to  the  right  or 
left,  and  only  a  remedial  effect  be  produced.  The  danger  may 
make  men  wise,  and  teach  the  crew  seamanship.  Thus  the  penalty 
of  violating  up  to  a  certain  point,  the  physical  law,  is  remedied  in 
its  tendency.  But  let  the  ship  careen  beyond  a  certain  line,  and 
it  capsizes.  If  it  be  of  iron  it  remains  at  the  bottom  of  the  sea  and 
hundreds  of  hundreds  of  years  of  suffering  of  that  penalty,  has  no 
tendency  to  bring  it  back.  Under  the  physical  laws  of  nature, 
plainly,  there  is  such  a  thing  as  being  too  late  to  mend.  There  is 
a  distinction  between  penalty  that  has  no  immediate  remedial  ten- 
dency, and  a  penalty  that  has  no  remedial  tendency  at  all.  Under 
the  organic  law,  the  tropical  tree,  gashed  at  a  certain  point,  may  throw 
forth  its  gums,  and  even  have  greater  strength  than  before  ;  but 
gashed  beyond  the  centre,  cut  through,  the  organic  law  is  so  far 
violated,  that  the  tree  falls.  After  a  thousand  years  that  tree  can- 
not escape  from  the  dominion  of  the  law,  which  enforces  such  a 
penalty."  And  so  it  is,  in  matters  affecting  man's  moral  and  spirit- 
ual condition  beyond  the  grave.  Sin  grows  by  what  it  feeds  on. 
The  essential  tendency  of  evil,  when  left  to  itself,  is  to  intensify, 
accumulate,  and  perpetuate  its  own  misery.  Repentance  is  not 
possible  in  such  circumstances,  for  there  is  no  will  or  power,  to 
cause  repentance.  Life  and  death,  blessing  and  cursing,  having 
been  set  before  the  sinner,  and  death  and  cursing  having  been  vol- 
untarily chosen,  what  hope  can  there  be  of  change?  Esau  found 
no  place  of  repentance,  after  he  sold  his  birthright,  though  he  sought 
it  carefully  with  tears.  The  condition  of  such  a  soul  is  graphically 
described  in  the  poet's  words,  when  he  says : 


334  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

"Hell  hath  no  limits,  nor  is  circumscribed 
In  one  self-place  ;  but  where  we  are  is  hell ; 
And  where  hell  is  there  we  must  ever  be. 
And  to  be  short,  when  all  this  world  dissolves, 
And  every  creature  shall  be  purified. 
All  places  shall  be  hell  which  are  not  heaven." 

And  again  : 

"Which  way  I  fly  is  hell,  myself  am  hen, 
And  in  the  lowest  deep,  a  lower  deep 
Still  gaping  to  devour  me,  opens  wide. 
To  which  the  hell  I  suffer  seems  a  heaven." 

That  numerous  passages  in  the  word  of  God  affirm  this  fact  is 
not  denied.  There  is  a  general  agreement  among  all,  who  believe 
in  the  authority  of  the  Bible  and  acknowledge  the  unequivocal 
testimony  of  conscience,  that  death  does  not  end  moral  account- 
ability, and  that  for  the  man  who  has  given  no  evidence  of  a  change 
of  heart  and  life  here,  there  is  reckoning  and  retribution  in  the  world 
to  come.  But  while  Universalists  hold  such  views,  honesty  compels 
us  to  say,  that  their  teaching  leads  many  criminals  to  believe  that 
heaven's  gates  are  opened  at,  or  after  death,  to  every  one.  "  What 
is  the  good  of  my  striving  so  hard  to  keep  from  sin  and  temptation, 
if  my  neighbor  who  gives  himself  up  to  the  world,  the  flesh  and 
the  devil,  after  this  life,  gets  to  heaven  ?  Is  it  not  best  to  go  my 
own  way  and  take  my  chances  of  life  to  come?"  Such  language  is 
not  uncommon,  nor  is  it  so  unreasonable,  viewed  from  a  Universal- 
ist  standpoint.  The  greatest  villains  and  murderers  that  expiate 
their  crimes  on  the  scaffold,  feel  assured  that  they  are  about  to 
enter  paradise.  Absolution  received  at  the  eleventh  hour,  without 
the  least  apparent  change  of  mind  and  a  mechanical  acquiescence 
in,  and  acceptance  of,  the  mercy  of  God,  makes  a  mockery  of  a 
judgment  to  come,  and  deludes  souls  with  the  hope  of  salvation 
that  cannot  be  realized,  if  God  is  a  God  of  holiness,  and  sin  unre- 
pentcd  of  deserves  his  wrath. 


UNIVERSALISM.  335 

I  freely  grant  that  Universalism  is  a  doctrine  which  men  would 
most  naturally  accept,  and  towards  which  many  good  men  would 
gravitate,  were  it  not  for  the  difficulty  of  reconciling  it  with  Scrip- 
ture. Sympathetic  and  tender  natures  who  mourn  over  human 
imperfections,  and  who  at  the  same  time  are  conscious  of  their 
own  sad  violation  of  God's  law,  recoil  from  the  idea  of  endless 
punishment. 

Dr.  Albert  Barnes,  the  well  known  Commentator,  although  a 
consistent  believer  in  the  doctrine  of  Eternal  Punishment,  had  such 
feelings.  Speaking  on  this  subject  on  one  occasion  to  his  congre- 
gation, he  said  :  "  A  hundred  difficulties  meet  the  mind  when  we 
think  upon  it ;  and  they  meet  us  when  we  endeavor  to  urge  our 
fellow  sinners  to  be  reconciled  to  God,  and  to  put  confidence  in 
Him.  I  confess  for  one  that  I  feel  these,  and  feel  them  more  sen- 
sibly and  powerfully  the  more  I  look  at  them,  and  the  Ipnger  I  live. 
I  do  not  know  that  I  have  a  ray  of  light  on  this  subject,  which  I 
had  not  when  it  first  flashed  across  my  soul.  I  have  read  to  some 
extent  what  wise  and  good  men  have  written.  I  have  looked  at 
their  theories  and  explanations.  I  have  endeavored  to  weigh  their 
arguments,  for  my  whole  soul  pants  for  light  and  relief  on  these 
questions.  But  I  get  neither  ;  and  in  the  distress  and  anguish  of 
my  own  spirit,  I  confess  that  I  see  no  light  whatever.  I  see  not 
one  ray  to  disclose  to  me  the  reason  why  sin  came  into  the  world  ; 
why  the  earth  is  strewed  with  the  dying  and  the  dead  ;  and  why 
man  must  suffer  to  all  eternity  !"  But  this  question  is  not  to  be 
S2ttled  by  the  moral  feeling,  or  by  what  is  called  the  subjective  con- 
sciousness, nor  by  ascribing  to  the  Almighty  a  course  of  conduct  at 
variance  with  the  principles  of  His  government 

Those  who  reject  the  doctrine  of  Eternal  Punishment,  and  em- 
brace Universalism,  are  generally  persons  in  whom  "  the  sentimen- 
tal is  largely  in  excess  of  the  judicial,"  and  who  shudder  at  the 
thought  of  eternal  misery  for  any  number  of  their  fellow  men.  The 
doctrine  they  argue  is  repugnant  to  the  moral  constitution  of  man, 


33^  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

and  must  of  necessity  be  repugnant  to  the  moral  character  of  God. 
It  attributes  to  God,  they  say,  an  imperfect  and  cruel  character,  and 
makes  him  more  malignant  and  cruel  than  the  most  malignant  and 
cruel  of  men,  who  would  not  thus  treat  their  worst  enemies.  Ac- 
cording to  such  reasoning,  the  moral  constitution  of  man  is  the 
ultimate  standard  of  appeal,  by  which  God's  dealings  with  his  crea- 
tures are  to  be  judged.  As  a  general  rule,  it  may  be  admitted,  that 
whatever  contradicts  man's  moral  intuitions  cannot  be  received  as 
just  and  true,but  care  must  be  taken,  that  what  we  call  our  moral  intu- 
itions are  genuine,  and  not  mere  individual  prejudice.  "  In  granting 
that  there  are  certain  primary,  necessary,  universal  moral  truths, 
which  a  divine  revelation  cannot  contravene,  a  license  is  not  given 
to  every  man  who  may  have  a  particular  theory  to  maintain,  to 
make  out  just  such  a  list  of  propositions  as  may  serve  his  purpose, 
and  claim  for  them  the  authority  of  ulti.nate  moral  intuitions,  from 
which  there  is  no  appeal." 

In  saying,  again,  that  the  doctrine  of  Eternal  Punishment  is 
opposed  to  the  justice  and  benevolence  of  God,  the  objector  grap- 
ples with  questions  that  are  to  a  great  extent  beyond  the  power  of 
mortals  to  decide.  "Justice  in  God  and  justice  in  the  creature  are 
not  governed  by  the  same  rules  ;"  nor  is  His  benevolence  to  be 
judged  by  ours.  Of  one  thing  we  may  be  certain,  that  there  is  no 
contradiction  between  the  love  and  justice  of  the  Almighty,  and 
that  eternal  punishment  will  at  last  be  seen  to  be  not  more  the 
effect  of  justice  than  of  love.  Juke,  in  his  book  on  the  restitution 
of  all  things,  writes  as  follows  : 

"When  I  think  of  God's  justice,  which  it  is  said  inflicts  not  only 
millions  of  years  of  pain  for  each  thought,  or  word,  or  act  of  sin 
during  this  short  life  of  seventy  years — not  even  millions  of  ages 
only  for  every  such  act,  but  a  punishment  which  when  millions  of 
ages  of  judgment  have  been  inflicted  for  every  moment  man  has 
lived  on  earth,  is  no  nearer  its  end  than  when  it  first  commenced  ; 
and  all  this  for  twenty,  forty,  or  seventy  years  of  sin  in  a  world 


UNIVERSALISM.  337 

which  is  itself  a  vale  of  sorrow  ;  when  I  think  of  this  and  then  of 
man,  his  nature,  his  weakness,  all  the  circumstances  of  his  brief 
sojourn  and  trial  in  this  world ;  with  temptations  without  and  a  fool- 
ish heart  within  :  with  his  judgment  weak,  his  passions  strong,  his 
conscience  judging,  not  helping  him  :  with  a  tempter  always  near, 
with  this  world  to  hide  a  better  ;  when  I  remember  that  this  crea- 
ture, though  fallen,  was  once  God's  child,  and  that  God  is  not  just 
only,  but  loving  and  longsuffering  ; — I  cannot  conclude,  that  this 
creature,  failing  to  avail  itself  of  the  mercy  of  God  offered  by  a 
Saviour,  shall  therefore  find  no  mercy  any  more,  but  be  punished 
with  never-ending  torment.  Natural  conscience  protests  against 
any  such  awful  misrepresentation  of  Him." 

In  the  same  strain,  another  Universalist  says:  "The  assertion 
that  endless  torments  will  be  inflicted  upon  a  creature  by  the  Being 
of  infinite  love,  involves  a  contradiction  in  terms.  I  can  no  more 
admit  the  love  of  God  to  cease,  than  I  can  admit  his  life  or  intelli- 
gence to  cease.  There  is  an  essential  contradiction  between  the 
two  conceptions — the  infinite  torment  of  a  creature,  and  the  infinite 
love  of  God." 

In  both  these  quotations,  and  indeed  by  all  Universalist  writers, 
the  generally  accepted  doctrine  of  the  Church  is  misrepresented. 
That  doctrine  is,  that  punishment  shall  be  meted  out  according  to 
the  deeds  of  the  individual  sinner,  and  with  reference  to  the  light 
enjoyed  by  each — those  who  sinned  without  law  perishing  without 
law,  and  those  who  sinned  under  the  law  being  judged  by  the  law, 
some  being  beaten  with  few,  and  others  with  many  stripes,  and  not 
that  in  every  instance  the  torment  shall  be  infinite  and  the  agony 
unutterable.  Shall  not  the  Judge  of  all  do  right?  Freed  from  all 
misconceptions  and  misrepresentations,  the  question  at  issue  is 
simply  this, — Is  it  consistent  with  the  love  of  Goo  to  inflict  upon 
transgressors  sufferings,  varying  In  degree  according  to  their  indi- 
vidual merits,  which  shall  continue  for  ever  ? 
2-1 


333  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

In  reply  to  this  question,  wc  condense  from  the  writings  of 
Dr.  Watt  of  Belfast,  and  Professor  Phelps  of  Andover.  The  former 
says  :  "  In  so  far  as  the  subjects  of  the  infliction  are  concerned,  love 
has  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  punishment.  If  the  question  were, 
How  long,  or  in  what  measure  a  Being  of  love  would  chastise  ? 
there  would  be  some  show  of  propriety  in  urging  it :  for  chastise- 
ment is  at  once  the  offspring  and  instrument  of  love.  Such  a 
question  bears  upon  its  face  the  impress  of  propriety,  and  suggests 
its  own  answer  ;  for  as  the  object  of  chastisement  is  the  reforma- 
tion of  the  subject  of  it,  love  will  not  inflict  a  single  stroke,  or 
extract  a  single  sigh  or  tear,  beyond  what  is  necessary  to  the  attain- 
ment of  that  end.  Very  different,  however,  is  the  end  aimed  at  in 
punishment.  The  chief  end  of  punishment  is  the  satisfaction  of 
justice;  and  whatever  collateral  ends  the  infliction  of  it  may  sub- 
serve, it  is  not  for  these,  as  the  supreme  end,  it  is  inflicted. 

There  is,  indeed,  one  way  in  which  the  duration  or  measure  of 
punishment  may  involve  the  question  of  love,  or,  at  least,  of  benev- 
olence. The  question  may  arise,  "  How  long,  and  in  what  meas- 
ure, is  it  necessary  to  punish  sin  so  as  to  secure  the  interests  of  the 
moral  universe  ?"  This  is  like  the  question,  "  How  long,  and  in 
what  measure,  is  it  necessary  to  punish  a  band  of  rebels  so  as  to 
secure  the  interests  and  welfare  of  the  nation  at  large  ?"  The  an- 
swer, of  course,  would  be,  "  Just  as  long  as  the  rebels  persist  in  their 
rebellion,"  If  they  continue  to  speak  treason  and  plot  insurrection, 
and  manifest  their  hatred  of  the  existing  authority,  then,  apart  from 
the  question  of  justice  altogether,  it  were  at  variance  with  benevo- 
lence to  open  the  prison  gates  and  let  such  despisers  of  law  and 
government  loose  upon  society.  Under  this  aspect  of  it,  punish- 
ment may  be  regarded  as  correlative  to  benevolence  ;  for  it  would 
be  not  only  unrighteous  but  unkind  to  remove  the  restraints  where- 
by these  fomenters  of  social  discord  are  withheld  from  subverting 
the  pillars  which  sustain  the  commonwealth.  Nor  is  the  principle 
involved  different  when  the   government  is  that   exercised  by  God 


UNIVERSALISM.  339 

over  His  moral  intelligences,  and  the  subjects  of  punitive  inflictions, 
rebels  against  His  authority. 

If  human  governments  may,  without  violating  the  claims  of 
benevolence,  erect  a  prison  for  rebels,  surely  the  Divine  govern- 
ment may  prepare  a  prison  for  those  who  defy  its  authority  :  and 
if  it  would  be  unkind,  as  well  as  impolitic,  for  the  admistrator 
of  law  among  men  to  amnesty  avowed  rebels,  surely  it  is  not  unbe- 
nevolent  for  the  sovereign  of  the  universe  to  restrain  fallen  angels 
and  wicked  men,  from  disturbing  the  harmony  and  marring  the 
beauty  of  His  empire,  so  long  as  their  moral  estate  as  rebels  re- 
mains unchanged.  Perpetual  treason  demands,  even  on  the  score 
of  benevolence,  perpetual  imprisonment.  Eternal  rebellion  against 
the  Divine  government  must  carry  with  it  eternal  punishment,  if 
the  governor  have  regard  for  the  interests  of  his  loyal  subjects. 
Punishment  therefore,  and  those  upon  whom  it  is  inflicted,  lie  out- 
side the  pale  of  benevolence  :  and  it  is  simply  a  confusion  of  attri- 
butes, which  are  as  regards  their  objects  and  spheres  fundamentally 
distinct  and  diverse,  to  represent  the  Judge  of  all  the  earth,  as  act- 
ing under  the  impulses  of  love  in  the  infliction  of  penal  suffering 
upon  his  enemies. 

If  the  principle  of  the  objection  in  question  be  valid,  God  cannot 
PUNISH  sin  at  all ;  for  if  we  are  warranted  in  arguing  against  infi- 
nite punishment  from  the  infinite  love  of  God,  it  must  be  on  the 
assumption  that  love  is,  in  its  nature,  opposed  to  PUNISHMENT. 
On  this  assumption  alone  can  love  furnish  any  argument  against 
penal  suffering.  But  if  love  be,  in  its  nature,  opposed  to  punish- 
ment, perfect  love  must  be  absolutely  opposed  to  punishment,  that 
is,  must  be  opposed  to  the  infliction  of  punishment  altogether  ; 
and  as  infinite  love  is  perfect,  it  must,  on  the  principle  of  the  objec-- 
tion,  be  obvious,  that  a  Being  possessing  such  an  attribute  must,  by 
virtue  of  His  very  nature,  not  only  abstain  from,  but  stand  infinitely 
opposed  to  the  infliction  of  penal  suffering  upon  His  creatures. 


340  UTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

Professor  Phelps  in  meetitifj  these  questions  :  Is  endless  punish- 
ment unjust?  Is  it  inconsistent  with  the  character  of  God  ?  writes 
as  follows  :  "  We  do  not  know  that  the  prevention  of  sin  under 
moral  government  IS  POSSIBLE  TO  THE  POWER  OF  GOD.  In  the 
constitution  of  things  some  contingencies  involve  contradictions. 
God  cannot  execute  absurdities.  He  cannot  so  change  the  mathe- 
matical relations  of  numbers  that,  to  the  human  mind,  twice  five 
shall  be  more  or  less  than  ten. 

These  are  changes  which  God  is  as  powerless  to  effect  as  man. 
They  involve  absurdities.  They  bear  no  relation  to  omnipotent 
power.  For  aught  that  we  know,  this  same  principle  may  pervade 
the  moral  universe.  We  live  under  moral  government.  Our  chief 
distinction  is  the  possession  of  a  moral  nature.  Within  the  limits 
prescribed  to  moral  freedom,  a  moral  being,  be  he  man  or  angel,  is 
as  imperial  in  his  autocracy  as  God  is  in  the  infinite  range  of  his 
being.  This,  God  has  himself  ordained.  Man's  supreme  endow- 
ment is  his  ability  to  be  what  he  wills  to  be,  to  do  what  he  chooses 
to  do,  to  become  what  he  elects  to  become  in  his  growth  ot  ages. 

We  do  not  know  that  the  prevention  of  sin,  under  a  moral  gov- 
ernment, IS  POSSIBLE  TO  THE  WISDOM  OF  GOD.  The  infinite  and 
eternal  expediences  of  the  moral  universe  may  forbid  it.  We  do 
not  know  the  infinite  complications  of  any  act  of  God.  A  sublime 
unity  characterizes  all  God's  ways.  His  government  is  imperial. 
One  aim,  one  plan,  one  animus,  rules  the  whole.  Speaking  in  the 
dialect  of  human  government,  one  policy  sways  the  uni\'erse.  We 
do  not  know,  therefore,  the  remote  consequences  of  a  policy  chosen 
for  the  administration  of  one  world.  It  has  invisible  convolutions 
and  reticulations  in  the  history  of  other  worlds.  To  have  chosen 
tht  nolicy  of  prevention  in  the  regulation  of  sin  here  might  have 
necessitated  changes  in  government  elsewhere,  which  would  have 
been  revolutionary  in  their  working.  Convulsions  in  consequence 
might  have  shaken  the  foundations  of  moral  government  every- 
where.    True  wo  cannot  affirm  it,  but  neither  can  we  deny  it. 


UNIVERSALISM.  341 

If  it  may  not  be  possible  to  divine  power,  and  if  it  may  not  be 
possible  to  divine  wisdom,  to  prevent  sin  in  the  government  of  God, 
then  we  affirm,  further,  that  it  MAY  NOT  BE  POSSIBLE  TO  DIVINE 
BENEVOLENCE.  A  benevolent  God  can  do  only  practicable  things. 
He  can  do  only  wise  things.  He  can  do  only  that  which  infinite 
power  can  do,  under  the  direction  of  infinite  wisdom. 

The  non-prevention  of  sin,  therefore,  in  this  world  of  ours  may 
have  been  the  best  thing  which,  under  the  conditions  here  existing, 
benevolence  could  plan  for.  Speaking  after  the  analogy  of  human 
governments,  the  policy  of  non-interference  may,  in  many  instances 
of  human  guilt,  have  been  the  policy  of  love.  To  let  sin  alone  in 
some  cases  may  be  the  dictate  of  benevolence.  To  leave  it  in  the 
awful  extremity  of  evil  developed  and  matured,  to  which  it  natur- 
ally dri-fts  by  the  force  of  its  own  momentum,  may  be  the  first  and 
last  and  best  decree  of  that  watchful  love  which  notes  the  fall  of 
a  sparrow.  True,  again,  we  cannot,  reasoning  from  the  nature  of 
the  case,  affirm  that  it  is  so,  but  we  must  prove  that  it  is  not  so, 
before  we  can  hold  God  unworthy  in  his  treatment  of  endless  sin 
by  the  infliction  of  endless  pains. 

Why  God  should  CREATE  beings,  who  will  slowly  but  surely 
weave  around  themselves  the  endless  curse,  is  the  mystery  which  I 
do  not  pretend  to  solve.  On  that  problem  I  profess  no  belief.  But 
that  some  men  should  go  to  Hell,  being  what  they  are,  is  no  mys- 
tery. Where  else  can  they  go  in  a  spiritual  universe?  That  there 
should  be  a  Hell,  sin  and  sinners  at  their  climax  of  moral  growth 
being  what  they  are,  is  no  mystery.  What  other  place  is  in  moral 
affinity  with  them  ?  Such  a  world  is  inevitable  in  the  nature  of 
things  in  a  universe  where  sin  has  any  impregnable  lodgment.  But 
the  reasons  of  God  for  creating  such  beings  and  permitting  the 
deathless  ravages  of  such  an  evil  are  beyond  my  conception. 

Must  I,  therefore,  refuse  my  faith  to  the  fact  of  their  creation 
and  their  doom  ?  If  I  withhold  faith  from  everything  in  God's 
doings  for  which  I  do  not  know  the  reasons,  my  creed  must  be  told 


342  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

in  few  words,  and  its  chief  dogma  must  be :  "What  a  monument 
of  unutterable  folly  I  am  !" 

The  sentences  in  the  above  quotation — "  That  some  men  should 
go  to  Hell,  being  what  they  are  is  no  mystery  :  where  else  can  they 
go  in  a  spiritual  universe  ?  What  other  place  is  in  moral  affinity 
with  them  ?" — are  deserving  of  special  notice.  While  these  pages 
are  passing  through  the  press,  the  Christian  world  has  been  startled 
by  fearful  revelations  of  crime,  in  the  great  metropolis  of  England, 
and  righteous  indignation  expressed  at  the  abettors  of  such  wicked- 
ness. One  of  our  religious  weeklies  pertinently  asks  the  question  : 
Do  our  Universalist  friends  still  think  that  the  Creator  could  make 
a  perfect  moral  universe,  without  providing  a  hell?  If  the  crimes 
of  the  London  debauchees  so  inflame  the  righteous  indignation  of 
every  just  man,  how  must  such  crimes  effect  a  God  of  infinite  purity 
and  of  infinite  pity  for  the  victims  of  these  criminals?  Imagine 
such  villains,  who  boast  of  destroying  innocents,  coming  before  the 
great  white  throne.  Would  any  right  minded  man  find  any  "  moral 
difficulty  "  in  saying  "  Amen  "  to  the  sentence  "  Depart,  ye  cursed." 
In  1850  when  the  vigilance  committee  in  the  city  of  San  Francisco 
had  done  its  needed  work  of  expurgation,  Dr.  Bushnell,  who  chanced 
to  be  a  witness  of  the  crimes  there  perpetrated,  preached  a  sermon 
suggested  by  the  alarming  condition  of  society,  in  which  he  said  : 
"What  kind  of  heaven  would  it  make  to  move  off  bodily  into  the 
eternal  future,  this  same  people  just  as  they  are?  Just  as  good  as 
it  makes  here,  and  no  better.  These  revenges,  frauds,  bribes,  per- 
juries and  deeds  of  blood,  these  abuses  of  power,  these  factions,  fears 
and  tumults,  all  that  makes  you  toss  in  throes  of  troubled  appre- 
hension, represents  a  character,  as  shadows  do  their  substances. 
Who  can  imagine  that  out  of  such  a  material  is  to  come  order,  love, 
ideal  harmony,  and  the  golden  concert  of  a  common  joy  before 
God  ?  Why  the  irruption  there  of  such  a  company  would  scare 
the  angels  from  their  songs,  and  extinguish  the  fires  that  light  up 
the  faces  of  the  seraphim.     When  the  Scriptures,  therefore,  declare, 


UNIVERSALISM.  343 

that  such  shall  not  be  admitted,  what  dignity  of  reason  is  there  in 
the  decree  ?  And  when  it  is  pubHshed  in  solemn  specification — 
'  Be  not  deceived,  neither  fornicators,  nor  adulterers,  nor  thieves, 
nor  covetous,  nor  drunkards,  nor  revelers,  nor  extortioners,  shall 
inherit  the  Kingdom  of  God.'  Who  is  there  even  of  those  that  are 
consciously  named  in  the  catalogue,  that  will  not  now,  in  this  day 
of  public  misery,  admit  the  necessary  reason  of  the  decree,  and  that 
even  Eternal  Goodness  could  not  frame  it  otherwise  ?" 

Common  sense  requires  what  the  Scriptures  teach,  that  there 
will  be  a  discrimination  in  the  future  state,  between  the  condition 
of  the  righteous  and  the  wicked,  corresponding  to  the  difference  of 
their  characters  here. 

Can  any  man  in  his  sober  senses  believe,  that  on  that  awful  day, 
intended  for  the  manifestation  of  Divine  justice,  there  will  be  no 
distinction  made  between  the  righteous  and  the  wicked :  that 
abandoned  sinners,  who  by  the  immediate  vengeance  of  heaven, 
were  cut  off  by  dreadful  judgment,  shall  go  directly  to  the  regions 
of  heavenly  bliss  ;  that  it  will  fare  as  well  with  the  rebellious  sinner, 
as  with  the  man  who  has  served  his  God  ? 

The  story  is  told  of  a  certain  Universalist  preacher  who  was 
telling  his  little  son  the  story  of  the  "  Babes  in  the  wood."  The 
boy  asked  "  what  became  of  the  poor  little  children  ?"  "  They 
went  to  heaven,"  replied  the  father.  "And  what  became  of  the 
wicked  old  uncle  ?"  "  He  went  to  heaven  too."  "Won't  he  kill  them 
again,  father?"  asked  the  boy.  The  child's  question  opened  up  to 
the  father  the  absurdity  of  his  doctrine  of  universal  and  indiscrim- 
inate salvation,  and  led  him  to  renounce  his  belief  in  it. 

In  his  little  volume,  entitled  "  Love  and  Penalty,"  or  Eternal 
Punishment  consistent  with  the  Fatherhood  of  God,  the  late  Dr. 
Joseph  P.  Thomson,  of  the  Broadway  Tabernacle,  New  York,  meets 
the  objection  founded  upon  the  justice  and  benevolence  of  the 
Divine  Being,  under  the  following  propositions  : 


344  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

I.  Our  own  nature,  which  is  appealed  to  as  refusing  to  recog- 
nize the  attribute  of  primitive  justice  in  a  God  of  love,  in  fact  de- 
mands this  attribute  as  essential  to  the  moral  perfection  of  the 
Deity — an  attribute  without  which  He  could  not  command  the  con- 
fidence and  homage  of  his  intelligent  creatures. 

II.  The  retributive  forces  continually  at  work  in  the  natural 
world,  and  the  primitive  dealings  of  Providence  with  men,  compel 
us  either  to  admit  that  punitive  justice  in  the  Divine  Being  is  con- 
sistent with  paternal  love,  or  regard  the  Head  of  creation  and  of 
providence  as  a  tyrant. 

HI.  The  history  of  Israel,  the  chosen  people  of  God,  to  whom 
he  revealed  himself  as  a  father,  abounds  in  visitations  upon  them 
for  their  sins.  If  God  has  punished  transgression  in  those  to  whom 
he  was  expressly  revealed  as  a  Father,  he  may  punish  the  wicked 
hereafter,  though  he  is  a  Father. 

IV.  Christ,  who  has  so  fully  revealed  God  as  a  Father,  teaches 
that  God  will  punish  the  wicked  in  the  future  world  ;  and  we  can- 
not claim  his  testimony  upon  the  first  point,  unless  we  receive  his 
testimony  on  the  second  also. 

V.  The  high  and  sacred  Fatherhood  which  the  Gospel  reveals, 
is  a  Fatherhood  in  Christ  toward  those  who  love  Him  ;  and  not  a 
general  Fatherhood  of  indiscriminate  love  and  blessing  to  the  race. 
God  is  not  the  Father  of  those  who  have  made  themselves  the  child-' 
ren  of  the  devil,  in  any  sense  which  would  exempt  them  from 
Christ's  anticipative  sentence,  "  Ye  shall  die  in  j'our  sins," 

VI.  The  demerit  of  sin  demands  that  God  should  punish  the 
sinner,  if  he  would  demonstrate  his  love  for  his  intelligent  creatures, 
and  his  care  for  the  highest  welfare  of  the  moral  universe  ;  and  no 
punishment  equal  to  the  demerit  of  sin  is,  or  can  be,  inflicted  in  the 
present  life. 

VII.  Since  this  desert  of  punishment  to  the  sinner  arises  from 
that  endowment  of  the  agency  which  is  essential  to  the  attainment 
of  that  peculiar   blessedness,  which  is  only   within   the  reach   of  a 


UNIVERSALISM.  345 

moral  being,  and  since  the  means  of  recovery  from  sin  and  of  deliv- 
erance from  condemnation  can  be  made  available  only  in  the  use 
of  that  same  free  agency  of  the  sinner  ;  and  since  the  love  of  God 
has  made  the  most  ample  provision  of  pardon,  and  has  proffered 
this  to  the  sinner  with  Divine  compassion  and  importunity,  but 
only  in  vain  ; — there  remains  no  conceivable  mode,  as  there  is  no 
revealed  promise,  by  which  the  Fatherhood  of  God  can  make  one 
dying  in  impenitence  and  unbelief,  holy  and  blessed  in  the  future 
world. 

VIII.  The  DURA'^ION  of  the  future  punishment  of  the  wicked, 
cannot  in  any  wise  be  limited  by  the  mere  fact  of  God's  Father- 
hood as  made  known  in  Christ  ;  but  must  be  determined  by  the 
element  of  sin  of  which  God  alone  can  judge,  and  ascertained  by 
us  from  the  declarations  of  the  Scriptures,  which  reason  can  inter- 
pret. The  question  ot  degrees  of  punishment  is  altogether  second- 
ary to  the  fact  that,  "  He  that  believeth  not  the  Son,  shall  not  see 
life  ;  but  the  wrath  of  God  abideth  on  him." 

It  is  indeed  admitted  by  everyone,  that  the  severest  punish- 
ments with  which  God  visits  men  on  earth  are  perfectly  consistent 
with  His  goodness  and  benevolence,  and  where  these  cease  to  have 
a  disciplinary  effect,  who  shall  dare  to  say  that  God  is  unjust  when 
He  puts  upon  them  the  seal  of  His  final  condemnation  of  sin  in 
eternal  banishment  from  His  presence?  The  facts  of  the  present 
life  are  all  against  the  teachings  of  Universalism,  and  it  is  only  by 
these  and  the  word  of  God  that  we  can  judge  of  the  future.  If  men 
can  resist  the  pleadings  of  Divine  love  here — obstinate  persistence 
in  evil  can  resist  law  and  repel  God's  mercy  there,  even  were  new 
influences  for  good  brought  to  bear  upon  the  soul  in  another  state. 

Such  truths  are  not  relished  by  the  mass  of  men.  "  Ye  shall 
not  surely  die,"  is  eagerly  listened  to,  rather  than  God's  declaration, 
"In  the  day  that  thou  eatest  thereof,  thou  shalt  surely  die."  Nor 
is  this  surprising.  The  very  thought  of  eternal  woe  becoming  the 
portion  of  any  number  of  the  human  famil}-,  is  enough  to  overwhelm 


34*5  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

the  soul.  We  do  not  love  to  preach  such  terrible  truths,  if  men 
could  be  otherwise  led  to  realize  the  evil  of  sin,  and  be  persuaded 
by  the  tenderer  manifestations  of  Calvary.  But  as  the  servants  of 
the  Most  High,  no  part  of  the  message  committed  to  us  dare  be 
kept  back.  "  O  son  of  man,"  said  God  to  the  Prophet  Ezekiel,  "  I 
have  set  thee  a  watchman  unto  the  house  of  Israel ;  therefore,  thou 
shalt  hear  the  word  at  my  mouth,  and  warn  them  from  me.  When 
I  say  unto  the  wicked,  O  wicked  man,  thou  shalt  surely  die  ;  if  thou 
dost  not  speak  to  warn  the  wicked  from  his  way,  that  wicked  man 
shall  die  in  his  iniquity,  but  his  blood  shall  I  require  at  thir  e 
hand." 

Christ  himself  preached  such  doctrine.  Loving-hearted  and 
compassionate  beyond  all  human  conception,  He  never  taught  that 
there  was  pardon  or  probation  after  death.  The  tares  were  net 
transplanted  and  transformed  into  wheat,  but  burned  up,  with  no 
promise  of  resurrection  from  their  ashes.  The  barren  branches  of 
the  vine  were  not  cut  off,  laid  away  for  a  season,  and  then  reunited 
t3  the  parent  tree.  The  door  was  never  opened  to  the  foolish  vir- 
gins. In  the  descriptions  given  of  the  dread  transactions  of  the 
day  of  judgment,  the  idea  of  finality  appears  not  in  single  words  or 
phrases  only,  but  in  the  power  and  vividness  of  the  pictures,  taken 
as  a  whole.  The  images  made  use  of  represent  a  closing  scene — 
"  It  is  the  last  great  act  in  the  drama  of  human  existence — the  set- 
tlement or  reckoning  of  the  world  when  God  demands  again  the 
ages  fled."  Even  were  it  otherwise  and  the  question  of  restoration 
or  no  restoration  left  indeterminate,  and  men  allowed  to  "  faintly 
trust  the  larger  hope,"  it  ought  only  to  be  faintly,  for  the  solemn 
silence  of  Scripture  would  be  ominous  of  doom  ! 

If  then  we  have  but  one  probationary  life  to  live,  how  careful 
ought  we  be  to  spend  it  seriously,  not  in  rioting  and  drunkenness, 
nor  in  chambering  and  wantonness,  not  as  children  of  the  night  and 
darkness,  but  as  children  of  the  day  and  the  light. 


UNIVERSALISM.  347 

"Nothing  is  worth  a  thought  beneath, 
But  how  we  may  escaoe  the  death 
That  never,  never  dies." 

Victor  Hugo,  in  his  famous  book  "  Les  Miserables,"  draws  the 
tragic  picture  of  a  man  sinking  in  the  quicksand  and  unable  to  re- 
gain the  sohr"  earth.  It  serves  to  gives  us  some  faint  idea  of  the 
wretchedness  of  a  lost  soul  when  it  begins  to  realize  the  fixedness 
of  its  destiny  for  eternity  : 

"  It  sometimes  happens,  on  certain  coasts  of  Britanny  or  Scot- 
land, that  a  man,  traveller,  or  fisherman,  walking  on  the  beach  at 
low  tide,  far  from  the  bank,  suddenly  notices  that  for  several  min- 
utes he  has  been  walking  with  some  difficulty.  The  strand  beneath 
his  feet  is  like  pitch  ;  his  soles  stick  to  it  ;  it  is  sand  no  longer,  it  is 
glue.  The  beach  is  perfectly  dry,  but  at  every  step  he  takes,  as 
soon  as  he  lifts  his  foot,  the  print  which  it  leaves  fills  with  water. 
The  eye,  however,  has  noticed  no  change  ;  the  immense  strand  is 
smooth  and  tranquil,  all  the  sand  has  the  same  appearance,  nothing 
distinguishes  the  surface  which  is  solid  from  the  surface  which  is  no 
longer  so.  *  *  *  Suddenly  he  sinks  in.     He 

sinks  in  two  or  three  inches.  Decidedly  he  is  not  on  the  right  road. 
He  stops  to  take  his  bearings.  All  at  once  he  looks  at  his  feet. 
His  feet  have  disappeared.  The  sand  covers  them.  He  draws  his 
feet  out  of  the  sand  ;  he  will  retrace  his  steps,  he  turns  back,  he 
sinks  in  deeper.  The  sand  comes  up  to  his  ankles  ;  he  pulls  him- 
self out  and  throws  himself  to  the  left — the  sand  is  half-leg  deep  ; 
he  throws  himself  to  the  right — the  sand  comes  up  to  his  shins. 
Then  he  recognizes,  with  unspeakable  terror,  that  he  is  caught  in 
quicksand,  and  that  he  has  beneath  him  the  fearful  medium,  in 
which  man  can  no  more  walk  than  the  fish  can  swim.  He  throws 
off  his  load,  if  he  has  one  ;  he  lightens  himself  like  a  ship  in  dis- 
tress ;  it  is  already  too  late — the  sand  is  above  his  knees.  He  calls, 
he  waves  hat  or  handkerchief;  the  sand  gains  on  him  more  and 
more  ;  if  the  beach  is  deserted,  if  the  land  is  too  far  off,  if  the  sand- 


348  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

bank  is  too  il!  of  repute,  if  there  is  no  hero  in  sight,  it  is  all  over — 
he  is  condemned  to  enlizement.  He  is  condemned  to  that  appal- 
Ung  interment,  long,  infallible,  implacable,  impossible  to  slacken  or 
hasten,  which  endures  for  hours,  which  will  not  end,  seizes  you 
erect,  free,  and  in  full  health,  which  draws  you  li^p8|feet ;  which, 
at  every  effort  that  you  attempt,  at  every  shout  you  utter,  drags 
you  a  little  deeper  ;  which  appears  to  punish  you  for  your  resist- 
ance by  a  redoubling  of  its  grasp,  which  sinks  the  man  slowly  into 
the  earth,  while  it  leaves  him  all  the  time  to  look  at  the  horizon, 
the  trees,  the  green  fields,  the  smoke  of  the  villages  in  the  plain, 
the  sails  of  the  ships  upon  the  sea,  the  birds  flying  and  singing,  the 
sunshine,  the  sky,  the  grave  become  a  tide  and  rising  from  the  depths 
of  the  earth  towards  a  living  man  ;  each  minute  is  an  inexorable  en- 
shroudress.  The  victim  attempts  to  sit  down,  to  lie  down,  to  creep  ; 
every  movement  he  makes  inters  him  ;  he  straightens  up  :  he  sinks 
in,  he  feels  that  he  is  being  swallowed  up,  he  howls,  cries  to  the 
clouds,  wrings  his  hands,  despairs  ;  behold  him  waist  deep  in  the 
sand,  the  sand  reaches  his  breast,  he  is  now  only  a  bust.  He  raises 
his  arms,  utters  furious  groans,  clutches  the  beach  with  his  nails 
would  hold  by  that  straw,  leans  on  his  elbow  to  pull  himself  out  of 
this  soft  sheath,  sobs  frenziedly  ;  the  sand  rises.  The  sand  reaches 
his  shoulders,  the  sand  reaches  his  neck,  the  face  alone  is  visible 
now.  The  mouth  cries,  the  sand  fills  it — silence.  The  eyes  still 
gaze,  the  sand  shuts  them — night.  Then  the  forehead  decreases,  a 
little  hair  flutters  above  the  sand,  a  hand  protrudes,  comes  through 
the  surface  of  the  beach,  moves  and  shakes,  and  disappears." 

Terrible  as  is  the  fate  of  a  human  being  thus  suddenly  and  help- 
lessly engulphed,  and  indescribable  as  must  be  his  feelings  in  the 
closing  moments  of  mortal  existence,  it  is  overshadowed  by  the 
despair  of  the  man  who  retains  throughout  eternity  the  conscious- 
ness of  having  sinned  away  his  day  of  grace.  In  the  account  given 
of  the  exploration  of  the  Amazon,  mention  is  made  of  the  peculiar 
notes  of  a  bird   heard  by  night  on   the  shores   of  the  river.     The 


UNIVERSALISM.  349 

Indian  guides  call  it   "  The  cry  of  a  lost   soul,"  and  many  of  them 
believe  it  to  be  so. 

"  In  that  black  forest,  where,  wnen  day  is  done, 
With  a  snake's  stillness  glides  the  Amazon, 
Darkly  from  sunset  to  the  rising  sun 
A  cry,  as  if  the  pained  heart  of  the  wood — 
The  long  despairing  moan  of  solitude — 
Startles  the  traveller  with  a  sound  so  drear, 
His  heart  stands  still  and  listens  like  his  ear. 
The  guide,  as  if  he  heard  a  dead-bell  toll, 
Starts,  crosses  himself,  and  whispers — "  A  lost  soul." 
Poor  fool,  with  hope  still  mocking  his  despair, 
lie  wanders,  shrieking  on  the  midnight  air, 
For  human  pity  and  for  Christian  prayer. 
Saints,  strike  him  dumb  ! 
No  prayer  for  him,  who  sinning  unto  death, 
Burns  always  in  the  furnace  of  God's  wrath." 

The  Indian  superstition  is  alas,  not  all  fancy.  That  there  are 
lost  souls,  who  can  doubt.  Nor  dare  any  man  plead  honestly  that 
his  creed  led  him  astray  ;  that  he  was  taught  to  believe  that  salva- 
tion was  coextensive  with  the  entire  human  family.  Any  creed 
that  conflicts  with  the  manifest  spirit  of  the  Bible  ought  not  to  be 
trusted  or  tolerated.  That  which  appeals  to  the  passions  and  pan- 
ders to  the  baser  appetites  of  sense,  and  offers  indulgence  for  vice, 
must  be  regarded  with  suspicion,  and  rejected  as  blasphemous. 
Men  need  not  be  imposed  upon.  Universalism  subverts  the  entire 
scheme  of  redemption,  and  leaves  no  middle  ground  between  simple 
faith  and  open  infidelity.  A  man  may  not  all  at  once  let  go  his 
hold  of  the  other  doctrines  of  Christianity,  but  of  necessity  he  must 
ultimately  ignore  the  whole  circle  of  revelation.  Every  day  wc 
read  of  vessels  stranded  on  the  coast,  and  hundreds  of  souls  perish- 
ing within  sight  of  land.  Why  such  loss  of  life  ?  For  the  most 
part  they  were  well  officered,  manned  by  gallant  crews,  and  strongly 
framed  of  oak  and  iron.  But  because  one  proper  signal  light  was 
missing,  or  a  mistake  made  as  to  the  light  and  its   distance   n-om 


350  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

the  shore,  the  vessels  were  put  off  their  course  and  became  total 
wrecks.  Ah !  there  are  many  souls  sailing  on  the  ocean  of  life 
towards  eternity  that  are  misled  by  false  lights  that  glimmer  along 
the  way  and  lure  to  destruction.  Presuming  that  the  rocks  are 
twenty  miles  distant,  when  they  are  only  one,  does  not  prevent  the 
total  loss  of  ship  and  passengers.  The  excuse  that  the  fog  was  so 
dense,  does  not  bring  back  life  to  the  dead  who  lie  in  the  bed  of  the 
ocean.  Nor  will  a  false  hope  in  the  mercy  of  God,  at  the  expense 
of  His  justice  and  holiness,  ameliorate  the  sufferings  of  the  man 
who  trifles  with  sin  and  mocks  at  a  day  of  judgment  1 


Leaving  the  domain  of  human  reason  and  feeling,  the  Scriptures, 
it  will  be  admitted,  are  the  only  reliable  source  of  information 
regarding  the  future  condition  of  the  impenitent  and  the  righteous 
alike.  The  inner  sense  or  conscience  may  afford  presumptive 
evidence  in  favor  of  one  view  as  against  another,  but  after  all,  our 
appeal  must  be  made  to  the  judge  of  all  the  earth,  whose  revelation 
alone  decides  the  destiny  of  souls  beyond  the  grave.  It  is  Christ 
who  has  brought  life  and  immortality  to  light  by  the  Gospel.  To 
the  law  and  to  the  testimony,  if  we  speak  not  according  to  this 
word,  it  is  because  there  is  no  light  in  us. 

Universalists  say  that  the  testimony  of  Scripture  is  at  first  sight 
contradictory,  and  apparently  irreconcilable.  That  it  is  to  them 
exceedingly  perplexing  is  evident,  for  in  spite  of  considerable  inge- 
nuity and  lengthened  reasoning,  it  is  difficult  for  the  most  promi- 
nent apologists  of  Restorationism  to  explain  away  direct  passages 
of  Scripture  that  assert  the  unchanging  moral  condition  of  immortal 
beings  beyond  the  grave.  It  is  by  analogy  more  than  by  direct 
argument  that  the  doctrine  of  Universalism  is  supported — by  at- 
tempting to  show  that  in  certain  other  passages  of  Scripture  the 
words  used  by  Christ  in  speaking  of  the  punishment  of  the  wicked, 
mean  something  else.     It  is  a  process  of  reasoning,  that   may  be 


UNIVERSALISM.  351 

congenial  to  scholars,  but  is  utterly  repugnant  to  the  plain  unso- 
phisticated men  and  women,  who  imagine  the  Bible  to  be  written 
in  a  form  easily  understood  and  level  to  the  comprehension  of  the 
humblest  reader,  without  any  hidden  or  covert  interpretation  which 
would  completely  subvert  its  apparent  meaning. 

The  texts  of  Scripture  cited  by  Universalists  to  show  that  God 
will  save  all  men,  independent  of  character  in  the  present  world,  are 
such  as  these  :  "In  Abraham's  seed  shall  all  the  kindreds  of  the 
earth  be  blessed."  "  The  times  of  the  restitution  of  all  things." 
"  God  hath  purposed  in  Himself,  according  to  His  good  pleasure,  to 
reconcile  unto  Himself,  in  and  by  Christ,  all  things,  whether  they 
b2  things  in  heaven  or  things  on  the  earth."  "  Creation,  which  now 
groans  and  travails  in  pain,  shall  be  delivered  from  the  bondage  of 
corruption  into  the  glorious  liberty  of  the  sons  of  God."  "  God 
was  in  Christ  reconciling  the  world  unto  Himself"  "  Christ  took 
our  flesh  and  blood,  that  through  death  He  might  destroy  him  that 
had  the  power  of  death,  that  is,  the  devil."  "  As  by  one  offence, 
judgment  came  upon  all  men  to  condemnation,  even  so  by  the 
righteousness  of  one,  the  free  gift  comes  on  all,  unto  justification  of 
life."  As  in  Adam  all  die,  even  so  in  Christ  shall  all  be  made 
alive."  "The  end  shall  not  come,  till  all  are  subject  to  Him,  that 
God  may  be  all  in  all,  and  hath  put  all  His  enemies  under  His  feet." 
"  He  shall  gather  together  in  one,  all  things  in  Christ,  both  which 
are  in  Heaven,  and  which  are  on  earth."  "  At  the  name  of  Jesus 
every  knee  shall  bow  and  every  tongue  shall  confess,  that  Jesus 
Christ  is  Lord."  "  God  sent  not  His  son  into  the  world,  to  con- 
demn the  world,  but  that  the  world  by  Him  might  be  saved.' 
"  Christ  is  the  propitiation  for  the  sins  of  the  whole  world."  "  I,  if 
I  be  lifted  up  from  the  earth,  shall  draw  all  men  unto  me," 

From  such  passages  Universalists  argue,  that  not  only  believers, 
who  are  the  first  fruits,  but  those  who  miss  the  glory  of  the  first- 
born, shall  be  saved  ;  the  one  being  gathered  in  spring,  the  other 
in  autumn  ;  the  latter  harvest  needing  a  greater  heat  than  the  first 


352  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

fruits  ;  that  in  the  world  to  come,  the  curses  pronounced  upon  the 
ungodly  here  shall  be  turned  into  blessings,  and  that  those  who  are 
now  turnino-  blessinsfs  into  curses,  will  find  that  God  can  make  even 
these  curses,  blessings  ;  that  such  phrases  as  the  second  death,  the 
lake  of  fire,  and  the  resurrection  to  judgment  or  condemnation,  are 
parts  of  God's  redemptive  plan  for  the  universe,  and  the  method  of 
freeing  those  who  in  no  other  way  can  be  delivered  from  the  power 
of  sin  ;  and  that  it  is  through  this  very  death  that  the  power  of  the 
devil  is  to  be  destroyed  and  swallowed  up  in  victory. 

In  reply  to  such  arguments,  we  remark  that  it  is  not  denied 
that  certain  texts  of  scripture  say  that  Christ  died  for  all.  Evan- 
gelical Christians  of  the  most  rigid  type  can  accept  the  statement. 
But  these  passages  do  not  say  that  all  will  be  saved.  The  way  of 
salvation  is  open,  but  to  walk  in  it  is  a  different  thing. 

But  still  further.  In  regard  to  those  texts  of  scripture  that 
speak  of  the  purpose  of  God  to  reconcile  all  things  unto  Himself 
(Ephesians  ist,  v.  lo  ;  Colossians  ist,  v.  lo),  until  we  have  deter- 
mined who  and  what  are  the  "  all  "  who  are  to  be  reconciled  to  God, 
we  can  base  no  argument  upon  them  for  the  doctrine  of  Universalism. 
Isolated  texts  of  scripture  ought  never  to  be  taken  to  support  any 
important  article  of  faith.  Clearly  the  "  all  things  "  spoken  of  can- 
not mean  everything  in  nature,  for  the  material  universe  is  not  sus- 
ceptible of  reconciliation  to  God.  Nor  can  they  refer  to  irrational 
animals,  who  need  no  reconciliation,  their  life  being  limited  to  the 
present.  Nor  can  they  refer  to  all  rational  beings,  for  in  Hebrews 
ii.  1 6,  it  is  taught,  that  Christ  did  not  die  to  redeem  fallen  angels, 
although  this  is  disputed  by  certain  Universalists.  Nor  can  they 
mean  all  men,  for  the  Scriptures  teach  that  all  men  are  not  recon- 
ciled to  God.  The  only  legitimate  meaning  of  such  a  phrase,  is  to 
apply  it  to  such  as  are  saved  by  faith — the  people  of  God  of  every 
communion  and  every  clime,  who  have  redemption  through  his 
blood,  and  the  forgiveness  of  sin,  according  to  the  riches  of  his 
grace. 


UNIVERSALISM.  353 

In  reference  to  the  passages  in  Romans  5th,  v.  18,  and  ist  Cor. 
1 5th,  V.  22,  "  As  by  the  offense  of  one,  judgment  came  upon  all  men 
to  condemnation  ;  even  so  by  the  righteousness  of  one  the  free  gift 
came  upon  all  men  unto  justification  of  life  ;"  "  For  as  in  Adam  all 
die,  even  so  in  Christ  shall  all  be  made  alive," — the  "  all "  must 
again  be  limited  by  the  context,  and  the  analogy  of  scripture.  If 
the  scriptures  teach  elsewhere  that  all  men  are  saved,  then  Univer- 
salism  is  true,  but  if  they  teach  the  contrary,  then  these  passages 
give  no  countenance  whatever  to  such  a  doctrine.  Texts  of  such  a 
character  standing  alone  decide  nothing. 

Take  only  two  additional  texts  :  1st  Corinthians,  15,  v.  25,  and 
1st  Timothy,  2,  v.  4,  "  He  must  reign  till  he  hath  put  all  enemies 
under  his  feet," — '•  who  will  have  all  men  to  be  saved,  and  to  come 
to  a  knowledge  of  the  truth."  The  former  may  mean  that  Christ 
must  reign  until  all  sin  and  misery  are  banished  from  the  universe, 
but  not  necessarily,  for  Satan  and  wicked  men  may  be  subdued 
without  either  being  converted  or  annihilated,  while  the  latter  pas 
sage  depends  for  its  correct  interpretation  on  the  meaning  of  the 
word  "will."  If  it  means  to  purpose  or  decree,  then  it  favors  Uni- 
versalism,  but  if  it  means  as  numerous  other  passages,  to  have  com- 
placency in,  it  simply  teaches  what  all  the  Scriptures  do,  that  God 
has  no  pleasure  in  the  death  of  sinners,  but  rather  desires  their 
salvation. 

Turning  now  to  the  positive  tests  of  Scripture  in  favor  of  end- 
less punishment,  it  is  to  be  remarked  that  the  doctrine  is  taught  in 
the  Old  as  well  as  the  New  Testament,  not  perhaps  so  clearly  or 
prominently  in  such  a  preparatory  and  shadowy  dispensation,  but 
sufficient  to  deter  men  from  pursuing  a  course  of  wickedness  in  the 
false  hope  of  pardon  and  restoration  to  the  favor  of  God.  In  Isaiah 
xxxiii.  14,  we  read,  "Who  among  us  shall  dwell  with  the  devour- 
ing fire  ?  Who  among  us  shall  dwell  vvith  everlasting  burn- 
ings ?"  In  verse  24,  of  the  66th  chapter  of  the  same  book,  it  is 
said  of  those  who  are  to  be  excluded  from  the  new  heavens  and 

23 


354  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

tlie  new  earth,  that  their  worm  shall  not  die.  neither  shall  their  fire 
be  quenched,  and  they  shall  be  an  abhorring  unto  all  flesh,  while  in 
Daniel  xii.  2,  it  is  said  of  the  wicked  that  they  "  shall  awake  to 
shame  and  everlasting  contempt."  Our  Lord's  own  teaching  is  still 
more  definite  and  emphatic  :  "  I  say  unto  you  my  friends,  be  not 
afraid  of  them  that  kill  the  body,  and  after  that  have  no  more 
power  that  they  can  do.  But  I  will  forewarn  you  whom  ye  shall 
fear  ;  fear  him  which,  after  he  hath  killed,  hath  power  to  cast  into 
hell.  I  say  unto  you,  fear  him."  "  He  that  believeth  on  the  Son 
hath  .verlasting  life,  he  that  believeth  not  the  Son,  shall  not  see 
life,  but  the  wrath  of  God  abideth  on  him."  "  The  wicked  shall  go 
away  into  everlasting  punishment."  "  He  shall  say  unto  them  on  . 
the  left  hand,  depart  from  me  ye  cursed  into  everlasting  fire, 
prepared  for  the  devil  and  his  angels  "  They  that  have  done 
evil,  shall  come  forth  from  their  graves  unto  the  resurrection  of 
damnation."  "Where  their  worm  dieth  not,  and  the  fire  is  not 
quenched." 

The  language  of  the  apostles  is  equally  strong.  Paul  says 
"some  "  are  saved  by  the  Gospel,  while  others  perish,  that  •'  many 
walk  whose  end  is  destruction  ; "  "  that  the  Lord  Jesus  shall  be 
revealed  in  flaming  fire,  taking  vengeance  on  them  that  know  not 
God,  who  shall  be  punished  with  everlasting  destruction  from  the 
presence  of  the  Lord  ;"  that  "to  such  as  sin  wilfully  there  remain- 
eth  no  more  sacrifice  for  sins,  but  a  fearful  looking  for  of  judgment 
and  fiery  indignation,  which  shall  devour  the  adversaries — to  whom 
God  is  a  consuming  fire."  St.  Peter  asks,  "  If  the  righteous  scarcely 
be  saved,  where  shall  the  ungodly  and  sinners  appear?"  And 
teaches,  that  wicked  men  bring  upon  themselves  swift  destruction, 
and  shall,  like  the  cities  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrha,  utterly  perish  in 
their  own  corruption.  St.  John  uses  words  to  the  same  effect : 
"  The  fearful,  and  the  unbelieving,  and  the  abominable,  and  mur- 
derers, and  whoremongers,  and  sorcerers,  and  idolaters,  and  all 
liars,  shall  have  their  part  in  the  lake  which  burnetii  with  fire  and 


UNIVERSALISM.  355 

brimstone,  which  is  the  second  death."  "  He  that  is  unjust,  let  him 
be  unjust  still :  and  he  which  is  filthy,  let  him  be  filthy  still ;  and 
he  that  is  righteous,  let  him  be  righteous  still ;  and  he  that  is  holy, 
let  him  be  holy  still." 

Now  regarding  such  passages  of  Scripture,  Universalists  say, 
we  cannot  explain  them — their  meaning  is  open  to  question,  but 
they  do  not  teach  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment — if  not,  then 
we  ask  what  do  they  teach  ?  The  reply  differs,  according  to  the 
shade  of  Universalist  belief.  Some  answer,  that  those  who  on  earth 
reject  the  Gospel,  do  by  their  present  rejection  of  Christ  lose  a 
glory,  which  if  now  lost,  is  lost  forever,  and  bring  upon  themselves 
a  judgment  of  darkness  and  anguish  unspeakable,  but  not  eternal, 
while  others  do  not  pretend  to  have  any  definite  idea  of  what  the 
Bible  teaches  on  the  subject.  They,  indeed,  are  eloquent  in  their 
passionate  disclaimers  of  the  orthodox  doctrines  of  hell,  but  give 
us  no  positive  or  consistent  interpretation  of  such  passages.  Surely 
we  have  a  right  to  demand  of  men,  who  hold  up  to  scorn  the  tor- 
ment of  the  lost,  as  inconsistent  with  the  character  of  God — to  tell 
us  what  the  Bible  means  to  convey  by  such  pictures  ?  It  is  easy 
to  purchase  a  cheap,  but  not  enviable,  notoriety  by  exaggerating 
and  denouncing  the  orthodox  doctrine  of  future  punishment,  but  it 
is  quite  another  thing  to  face  the  awful  declarations  of  Scripture, 
and  explain  them  to  the  satisfaction  of  candid  minds. 

To  go  over  in  detail  certain  passages,  which  the  Universalists 
have  grappled  with,  and  give  in  detail  the  meanings  put  upon  them, 
would  not  only  be  wearisome,  but  confusing  to  the  ordinary  reader. 
One  or  two  instances  will  indicate  the  mode  of  argument  adopted. 
"These  shall  go  away  into  everlasting  punishment,  but  the  right- 
eous into  life  eternal."  The  words  "  everlasting  "  and  "  eternal  " 
are  the  same  in  the  original.  Hence  we  surely  have  a  right  to 
argue  that  whatever  may  be  the  meaning  in  the  case  of  the  lost,  it 
must  be  the  same  in  the  case  of  the  saved.  If  the  endless  punish- 
ment of  the  wicked  is  uncertain,  so  must  be  the  everlasting  life  of 


356  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

the  blessed.  But  we  are  assured  of  the  absolute  endlessness  of  the 
life  of  believers  in  Christ,  for  "  because  he  lives  they  shall  live  here- 
after." It  follows  then,  that  everlasting  death,  whatever  that  means, 
is  the  portion  of  the  wicked.  If  heaven  is  endless,  why  not  hell? 
— the  two  states  or  conditions  of  being  are  presented  in  parallel 
language,  and  indicate  the  same  duration. 

To  this  it  is  replied  :  The  word  everlasting  or  eternal  is  in  cer- 
tain other  passages  of  Scripture,  applied  to  what  is  not  eternal,  and 
therefore  we  have  a  right  to  believe  that  it  does  not  mean  "  eternal  " 
here.  The  word  punishment  also  in  its  primary  sense  means  simply 
pruning,  or  corrective  discipline,  for  the  benefit  of  him  who  suffers 
it,  therefore  the  passage  only  teaches  that  so  far  from  the  godless 
being  lost  forever,  they  only  miss  the  first  resurrection  to  eternal 
life,  but  are  eventually  saved  by  means  of  this  everlasting  discipline  ! 

Such  a  style  of  reasoning  is  not  satisfactory,  as  can  be  shown 
by  selecting  three  passages  of  Scripture  where  the  same  word  is 
used  with  reference  to  the  punishment  of  Satan,  the  endless  worship 
of  the  redeemed,  and  the  portion  of  the  wicked.  The  first  passage 
is  found  in  Revelation  xx.  lo,  "The  devil  that  deceived  was  cast 
into  the  lake  of  fire  and  brimstone,  where  the  beast  and  false  pro- 
phet are,  and  they  shall  be  tormented  day  and  night  for  ever  and 
ever  " — "  for  aeons  and  aeons."  The  second  passage  is  found  in 
Revelation  V.  13-14,  "Blessing  and  honor,  and  glory,  and  power, 
unto  Him  that  sitteth  upon  the  throne,  and  unto  the  Lamb  for  ever 
and  ever — for  aeons  and  aeons — and  the  four-and-twenty  elders  fell 
down  and  worshipped  Him  that  liveth  for  ever  and  ever — for  aeons 
and  aeons."  The  third  passage  is  found  in  Mathew  xxv.  41,  "Depart 
from  Mc,  ye  accursed,  into  everlasting  'aionial '  fire,  prepared  for 
the  devil  and  his  angels."  Now  the  first  passage  teaches  that  the 
punishment  of  the  devil  and  his  allies  will  continue  for  ever  and 
ever — for  aeons  and  aeons.  The  second  teaches  that  God  lives  dur- 
ing aeons  of  aeons — for  ever  and  ever — and  that  the  praises  also  of 
God  and  the  Lamb  will  continue  during  aeons  of  aeons — for  ever 


UNIVERSALISM.  357 

and  ever.  The  third  teaches  that  at  the  last  great  day,  the  Judge 
will  send  away  those  who  are  cursed,  or  adjudged  worthy  of  pun- 
ishment, into  the  everlasting,  or  "  aionial,"  fire,  prepared  for  the 
devil  and  his  angels.  Now,  the  "  aionial,"  or  everlasting  fire,  pre- 
dicted in  the  last  passage,  is  one  and  the  same  with  the  fires  of 
Aion,  predicted  in  the  first,  and  the  duration  predicted  in  the  first 
is  the  same  as  that  specified  in  the  second,  and  the  duration  pre- 
dicted in  the  last  is  equal  to  that  of  the  first,  therefore,  the  duration 
of  punishment  of  those  who  shall  be  adjudged  worthy  of  such  at 
the  last  day,  will  be  equal  to  the  duration  of  the  praises  of  God  and 
the  Lamb,  which  will  continue  as  long  as  God  liveth. 

As  further  illustrations  of  how  the  Scriptures  are  wrested,  to 
support  the  views  of  Universalists,  take  two  other  well  known  pass- 
ages of  the  word  of  God.  In  Matthew  xxii.  31-32,  we  find  these 
words,  referring  to  the  unpardonable  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost. 
•'Wherefore  I  say  unto  you,  all  manner  of  sin  and  blasphemy  shall 
be  forgiven  unto  men  :  but  the  blasphemy  against  the  Holy  Ghost 
shall  not  be  forgiven  unto  men.  And  whosoever  speaketh  a  word 
against  the  Son  of  man,  it  shall  be  forgiven  him  ;  but  whosoever 
speaketh  against  the  Holy  Ghost,  it  shall  not  be  forgiven  him, 
neither  in  this  world,  neither  in  the  world  to  come."  This  text, 
says  the  Universalist,  does  not  teach  never-ending  punishment,  for 
sin  here  or  hereafter.  It  simply  teaches  that  the  sin  against  the 
Holy  Ghost  cannot  be  forgiven  here  or  in  the  coming  age,  but 
says  notning  of  those  ages  to  come,  elsewhere  revealed  in  Scripture. 
In  another  age,  even  the  sin  against  the  Holy  Ghost  shall  be  for- 
given, and  the  possibilities  of  Divine  mercy  be  gloriously  manifested. 

In  Mark  ix.  43-48  :  "  If  thy  hand  offend  thee,  cut  it  off;  it  is 
better  for  thee  to  enter  into  life  maimed,  than  having  two  hands  to 
go  into  hell,  into  the  fire  that  never  shall  be  quenched,  where  their 
worm  dieth  not  and  the  fire  is  not  quenched  :  and  if  thy  foot  offend 
thee,  cut  it  off;  it  is  better  for  thee  to  enter  halt  into  life  than  hav- 


358  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

ing  two  feet  to  be  cast  into  hell,  where  their  worm  dieth  not  and  th^ 
fire  is  not  quenched  ;  and  if  thine  eye  offend  thee,  pluck  it  out ;  it 
is  better  for  thee  to  enter  into  the  Kingdom  of  God  with  one  eye 
than  having  two  eyes  to  be  cast  into  hell  fire,  where  their  worm 
dieth  not  and  the  fire  is  not  quenched."  These  last  words,  "  the  fire 
not  quenched,"  says  the  Universalist,  refers  to  the  fire  for  the  burnt 
offering,  which  was  kept  continually  burning  on  the  altar,  and  not 
to  never-ending  punishment.  It  simply  indicates  the  means  by 
which  men  are  fitted  for  a  state  of  acceptance  with  God  !  Finally, 
as  for  the  parable  of  the  rich  man  and  Lazarus,  to  which  we  have 
already  referred,  it  is  chiefly  parabolic,  teaching  that  despite  of 
special  privileges  in  this  world,  the  Jew  may  suffer  in  the  next, 
while  the  outcast  Gentile  will  be  first  saved  ;  and  specially  that  the 
great  gulf  fixed  between  Dives  and  Lazarus,  although  impassible 
to  man,  can  be  traversed  by  Christ,  who  can  bring  the  last  prisoner 
out  of  hell  !  Morley  Punshon,  lately  gone  to  his  rest  and  reward, 
gives  a  different  and  truer  meaning  to  the  parable.  After  remark- 
ing that  even  if  the  spirit  of  perdition  could  return  to  earth,  with 
the  thunder  scar  of  the  Eternal  on  his  brow,  and  his  heart  writhing 
under  the  blasted  immortality  of  hell,  to  tell  the  secrets  of  his  prison 
house,  men  would  not  repent,  he  describes  the  closing  scene  in  a 
life  of  song  and  wine  and  beauty,  by  saying  :  "  The  rich  man  died 
and  was  buried,  and  in  hell  lifted  up  his  eyes,  being  in  torment,  and 
seeth  Abraham  afar  off  and  Lazarus  in  his  bosom,  he  cried  and 
said — the  only  prayer  that  I  know  of,  the  whole  Bible  through,  to 
a  saint  or  angel,  and  that  by  a  damned  spirit,  and  never  answered — 
"  I  pray  thee,  father  Abraham,  that  thou  wouldst  send  Lazarus  that 
he  may  dip  the  tip  of  his  finger  in  water  and  cool  my  tongue,  for  I 
am  tormented  in  this  flame."  Listen  to  it,  the  song  of  the  lost 
worldling  in  hell.  Who  will  set  it  to  music  ?  Which  heart  is  tun- 
ing for  it  now?  Sinner,  is  it  thine?  Oh,  surely  the  bare  possibi- 
lity of  such  a  doom  ought  to  arrest  the  most  reckless  and  defiant. 
As  the  poet  says  : 


UNIVERSALISM.  359 

"Sad  world  indeed,  ah  !  who  can  bear 

Forever  there  to  dwell, 
Forever  sinking  in  despair, 

In  all  the  pains  of  hell  ? 

The  breath  of  God,  His  angry  breath 

Supplies  and  fans  the  fire  ; 
There  sinners  taste  the  second  death, 

And  would,  but  can't,  expire. 

Conscience,  the  never-dying  worm, 

With  torture  gnaws  the  heart  ; 
And  woe  and  wrath  in  every  form, 

Is  now  the  sinner's  part. 


There  yet  remains  for  us  to  show  that  the  words  "aeon," 
"aionios,"  and  "  aionial  "  mean  in  by  far  the  largest  number  of  in- 
stances in  the  New  Testament,  endless  duration.  The  truth  or 
falsity  of  Universalism,  so  far  as  the  mere  literal  interpretation  is 
concerned,  must  be  settled  by  enquiring  into  the  meaning  of  these 
words,  com.monly  translated  "  forever,"  "  ever,"  "  eternal,"  and 
"everlasting."  In  classical  use,  these  words  are  rendered  long  con- 
tinuing, eternal,  unlimited,  and  everlasting,  just  as  they  are  used  in 
scripture.  Passing  over,  then,  the  use  of  the  word  "  aion  "  in  the 
New  Testament,  as  applied  to  God  or  Christ,  and  also  to  the  hap- 
piness of  the  good  in  the  future  world — which  is  not  disputed  by 
any  who  believe  in  a  future  state  and  the  immortality  of  the  soul — 
we  find  that  in  fifty-five  instances  in  the  New  Testament  it  means 
an  unlimited  period  of  duration,  either  past  or  future,  apart  alto- 
gether from  those  passages — five  in  number,  where  it  is  clearly  used 
in  respect  to  future  punishment,  and  if  we  add  these  cases,  and  those 
v/hich  refer  to  the  dominion  of  Messiah,  there  are  sixty-four  cases 
out  of  ninety-four  in  all,  where  it  means  unlimited,  boundless  dura- 
tion. From  a  most  minute  examination  of  every  instance  where 
the  word  is  used  in  the  New  Testament  indicating  time,  the  highest 


36o  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

scholarship  concludes,  that  it  means  indefinite,  unlimited  time — a 
future  period  tnat  has  no  bounds  or  limits. 

Coming  to  the  word  "  aionios,"  derived  from  "  aion,"  in  classic 
use  it  means  long  continued,  eternal,  everlasting  ;  substantiall\' 
agreeing  with  the  word  "aion,"  when  used  in  relation  to  time.  In 
the  New  Testament,  it  generally  signifies  perpetual,  never-ending, 
eternal,  and  is  always  so  emplo}'ed,  with  reference  to  the  happiness 
of  the  righteous  and  the  abode  prepared  for  the  glorified  in  the 
future  life.  The  word  is  used  sixty-six  times  in  the  New  Testa- 
ment. In  flfty-one  instances  it  refers  to  the  happiness  of  the  right- 
eous, in  two  instances  to  God  or  the  glory  of  God,  in  six  instances 
with  different  meanings,  and  in  seven  instances  to  future  punish- 
ment. Leaving  out  the  seven  instances,  in  which  the  word  is  used 
respecting  future  punishment,  the  conclusion  reached  by  the  ablest 
theologians  is,  that  if  the  rest  have  not  the  meaning  of  endless  dura- 
tion, "then  the  scriptures  do  not  decide  that  God  is  eternal,  not  that^ 
the  happiness  of  the  righteous  is  without  end,  nor  that  his  covenant 
of  grace  will  always  remain,  a  conclusion  that  would  forever  blast 
the  hopes  of  Christians  and  shroud  in  more  than  midnight  darkness 
all  the  glories  of  the  gospel."  If  in  seven  instances  the  word  sig- 
nifying endless  duration  is  applied  to  the  future  of  the  wicked,  who 
dare  say  that  the  inspired  penman  wrote  the  word  in  some  fifty- 
eight  other  passages  with  the  clear  and  accepted  meaning  of  unlim- 
ited duration,  and  left  it  seven  times  with  the  liberty  to  understand 
it  in  the  very  opposite  sense !  By  what  authority  can  we  translate 
it  eternal,  everlasting,  unending,  when  applied  to  life  and  glory, 
Christ  and  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  God,  and  the  condition  of  the  saved 
in  heaven,  and  give  to  it  the  meaning  of  limited  duration  vrhen 
applied  to  the  future  punishment  of  the  ungodly  ?  Whatever  mean- 
ing we  put  upon  the  word  in  the  one  case,  we  are  bound  to  put  in 
the  other.  If  not,  then  we  must  conclude  that  all  the  statements 
concerning  the  place  of  torment  contained  in  the  Bible  are  merel\' 
Oriental  hyperboles  ;  that  they  were  merel\'  intended  as  a  merciful 


UNIVERSALISM.  361 

deterrent  to  the  Jews  in  their  low  state  of  piety,  culture  and  civili- 
zation, an  adaptation  to  the  hardness  of  their  hearts,  or  a  needful 
concession  to  a  prevailing  superstition  !" 

To  sum  up,  and  here  I  adopt  the  conclusions  arrived  at  by 
Moses  Stuart  of  Andover,  if  I  do  not  always  use  his  language — 
who.  after  a  searching  scrutiny  of  the  meaning  of  the  words,  both  in 
Hebrew,  the  Septuagint,  and  New  Testament  Scriptures,  applies 
his  results  to  the  questions  of  endless  punishment.  As  future  pun- 
ishment must  belong  to  future  time,  so  the  word  "aion,"  when 
spoken  of  in  connection  with  punishment,  must  have  a  like  mean- 
ing with  that  which  it  has,  when  applied  to  things  belonging  to  a 
future  world,  and  which  are  yet  to  take  place.  In  such  cases  where 
glory  and  praise  are  ascribed  to  God  for  ever,  or  forever  and  ever, 
a  definite  period  of  time  cannot  be  meant.  When  God  is  called 
eternal,  and  when  the  things  of  the  heavenly  world  are  spoken  of, 
eternity  in  the  proper  sense  of  the  word  is  intended.  In  such  cases 
where  "  aion  "  and  "  aionios  "  are  applied  to  the  happiness  of  the 
righteous  in  another  world,  there  can  be  no  room  to  doubt  that  a 
happiness  without  end  is  intended.  It  follows  then,  that  in  the 
instances  where  "aion"  is  applied  to  the  future  punishment  of  the 
wicked,  and  "aionios"  is  applied  to  the  same  subject,  the  same 
meaning  is  intended.  The  laws  of  interpretation  demand  this. 
The  words  "  aion  "  and  "  aionios  "  are  applied  sixty  times  in  the 
New  Testament  to  designate  the  continuance  of  the  future  happi- 
ness of  the  righteous  and  twelve  times  to  designate  the  continuance 
ot  the  future  misery  of  the  wicked.  By  what  principles  of  inter- 
preting language  is  it  possible  to  avoid  the  conclusion  that  they 
have  the  same  sense  in  both  cases?  If  life  eternal  is  promised  on 
one  side,  and  death  eternal  is  promised  on  the  other,  is  it  not 
to  be  supposed  that  the  word  eternal,  which  qualifies  life,  is  of  equal 
force  with  the  word  eternal  which  qualifies  death?  If  then  the 
Scriptures  have  not  asserted  the  endless  punishment  of  the  wicked, 
neither  have  they  asserted  the  endless  happiness  of  the  righteous. 


362  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

The  one  is  equally  certain  with  the  other.  Both  are  laid  in  the 
same  balance  ;  both  must  be  tried  by  the  same  tests,  and  if  we 
give  up  the  one  we  must,  to  be  consistent,  give  up  the  other  also. 

"  I  have  long  searched,"  says  Moses  Stuart,  "  with  anxious 
solicitude  for  a  text  in  the  Bible,  which  would  even  seem  to  favor 
the  idea  of  a  future  probation.  I  cannot  find  it.  If  others  have 
been  more  successful  in  their  researches,  let  them  show  us  the  proof. 
When  this  shall  be  done  in  accordance  with  the  simple  laws  of 
interpretation,  and  without  the  application  of  A  PRIORI  theology  to 
the  Bible,  then  I  promise  to  renounce  my  feelings  and  views  in 
regard  to  the  whole  subject  before  me.  But  till  then,  I  must  hold 
the  endless  punishment  of  the  wicked,  or  give  up  the  endless  happi- 
ness of  the  righteous.  Further,  if  Universalists  are  in  the  right,  we 
who  believe  in  a  doctrine  very  different  to  theirs,  are  nevertheless, 
just  as  safe  as  they.  We  need  not  concern  ourselves  to  examine 
whether  we  are  in  the  right  or  wrong  as  to  opinion,  since  there  can 
be  no  difference  in  the  result.  But  if  we  are  in  the  right,  and  they 
mistake  fundamentally  the  meaning  of  God's  word,  and  mistake  it 
through  the  spirit  of  unbelief,  and  through  desire  to  live  without 
that  self  control  and  self  denial  which  the  Gospel  demands  on  pen- 
alty of  everlasting  death,  then  what  is  to  be  the  end  of  all  this  ?" 

There  are  other  considerations  still  in  favor  of  the  commonly 
received  interpretation.  We  have  already  referred  to  the  classic 
use  of  "  aion  "  and  "  aionios,"  as  the  same  as  that  in  the  New  Tes- 
tament. On  referring  to  such  writers  as  Aristotle,  we  find  the 
words  always  used  as  indicating  unending  duration,  whether  as 
applied  to  eternal  punishment  or  eternal  happiness.  But  even  sup- 
posing that  the  word  everlasting  should  occasionally  be  found  de- 
noting a  period  less  than  absolute  eternity,  such  as  where  the 
inspired  and  profane  writers  speak  of  "  the  everlasting  hills,"  in  such 
instances  the  word  when  applied  to  future  time,  always  denotes  the 
longest  duration  of  which  the  subject  is  capable.  "Everlasting 
hills  "  are  those  which  shall  continue  to  the  end  of  the  world.     "  He 


UNIVERSALISM.  363 

shall  serve  forever,"  means  during  the  longest  period  of  which  he  is 
capable.  Hannah  devoted  Samuel  to  the  Lord  "forever"  (ist 
Samuel  i.  22),  that  is,  he  was  never  to  return  to  private  life.  "  An 
ordinance  for  ever,"  is  one  which  lasts  through  the  longest  possible 
time — the  whole  dispensation,  of  which  it  was  a  part.  Such  cases, 
which  are  after  all  but  few  in  number,  do  not  contravene  in  spirit 
the  numerous  instances  in  which  the  word  signifies  absolute  eter- 
nity, which  is  indeed  the  original  meaning  of  the  term. 

It  is  also  worthy  of  remark,  in  the  settlement  of  such  an  impor- 
tant doctrine,  that  all  Christian  Churches,  since  the  Apostolic  age, 
have  understood  the  Bible  to*  teach  the  everlasting  punishment  of 
the  wicked.  Why  is  this  ?  Not  because  such  a  doctrine  is  it  all 
congenial  to  the  human  mind,  but  because  it  is  found  in  a  divine 
revelation  it  cannot  be  rejected.  If  we  acknowledge  the  Bible  to 
be  from  God,  it  must  be  accepted  in  its  entirety,  promises  of  pardon 
and  threatenings  of  vengeance  alike.  Nor  can  we  account  for  the 
almost  universal  acceptance  of  the  doctrine  by  saying  that  it  was 
imposed  upon  the  Christian  world  by  the  authority  of  the  Church, 
for  it  was  received  as  true  long  before  any  sect  had  presumed  to 
dictate  what  truths  should  be  believed,  and  it  continued  to  be  ac- 
cepted after  the  Reformation,  when  the  authority  of  the  Church  in 
matters  of  faith  and  practice  was  rejected,  and  the  Scriptures  alone 
recognized  as  the  only  infallible  guide. 

It  is  often  asserted  that  the  strong,  vigorous  thinkers  of  the  day 
are  all  agreed  in  denouncing  the  dogma  of  endless  punishment  ; 
that  the  conception  of  a  God  who  should  condemn  immortal  beings 
to  eternal  misery  is  now  left  to  the  non-progressive,  uncultured  and 
violent  demagogues  and  revivalists,  who  have  neither  the  ability 
nor  the  courage  to  examine  the  teachings  of  the  word  of  God.  Is 
it  so  ?  It  is  freely  admitted  that  the  doctrine  of  Universalism  has 
always  had  defenders.  Even  during  the  dark  ages  and  among 
schoolmen  such  names  as  Scotus  Erigena  and  the  Abbot  Raynaldus 
are  found  supporting  the  theory.     But  the  great  mass  of  scholars  of 


364  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

that  period,  such  as  Thomas  Aquinas,  opposed  it  strenuously,  not 
only  on  account  of  its  unscriptural  character,  but  also  because  it 
was  mixed  up  with  Socinianism  and  free-thinking  of  every  shade 
of  opinion.  At  the  present  day  comparatively  few  eminent  men, 
either  in  Great  Britain  or  in  America,  hold  the  doctrine,  or  if  they 
do,  they  carefully  conceal  their  belief 

Charles  Kingsley,  who  has  been  reckoned  among  the  number 
who  held  and  taught  the  doctrine  of  Universalism,  in  his  late  years 
not  only  modified  his  views,  but  preached  the  reasonableness  and 
probability  of  future  punishment.  He  hardly  ever  indeed  preached 
Restorationism  to  his  church  at  Eversley.  Any  one  reading  his 
"Village  Sermons"  would  conclude  that  he  taught  no  other  doc- 
trine to  sinners  than  that  of  eternal  punishment  and  retribution,  and 
that  he  preached  the  doctrine  with  great  plainness  and  energy. 
Repudiating  the  idea  of  material  bodily  torture,  he  was  a  stout  up- 
holder of  the  Athanasian  creed,  which  in  his  early  manhood  he  had 
repudiated  with  intense  dislike.  The  change  in  his  views  arose 
from  a  deepening  sense  of  man's  moral  individuality  and  accounta- 
bility to  his  Maker:  "of  his  power  to  make  or  mar  his  fortunes, 
to  determine  his  own  future,  and  mould  his  own  destiny,  in  this 
world  and  the  world  to  come."  Hence  he  wrote  to  the  Guardian 
newspaper,  in  a  letter  explaining  his  later  views  as  to  the  Athan- 
asian creed,  these  words  :  "  I  do  not  deny  endless  punishment.  On 
the  contrary,  I  believe  it  is  possible  for  me  and  other  Christian  men, 
by  loss  of  God's  grace,  to  commit  sins  against  light  and  knowledge, 
which  would  plunge  us  into  endless  abysses  of  probably  increasing 
sin,  and  therefore,  of  probably  increasing  and  endless  punishment." 

Frederick  Robertson  of  Brighton,  a  man  of  exquisitely  tender 
and  sensitive  soul,  who  was  accused  of  the  greatest  latitudinarian- 
ism,  says  :  "  My  only  difficulty  is,  how  net  to  believe  in  everlasting 
punishment."  Speaking  of  the  man  who  having  sown  to  the  flesh, 
shall  of  the  flesh  reap  corruption,  he  says  :  "  This  is  ruin  of  soul. 
He  shall  reap  the  harvest  of  disappointment,  of  bitter  useless  re- 


UNIVERSALISM.  365 

morse.  He  shall  have  the  worm  that  gnaws,  and  the  fire  that  is 
not  quenched.  He  shall  reap  the  fruit  of  long  indulged  desires, 
which  has  become  tyrannous  at  last,  and  constitute  him  his  own 
tormentor.  His  harvest  is  a  soul  in  flames,  and  the  tongue  that  no 
drop  can  cool.  Passions  that  burn,  and  appetites  that  crave,  when 
the  power  of  enjoyment  is  gone." 

Norman  McLeod  says  :  "  If  a  new  period  of  probation  be  pos- 
sible for  those  whose  lives  as  a  whole  are  expressed,  in  having 
'preferred  darkness  to  light,'  no  hint  of  such  is  given  by  Him  who 
is  to  be  the  judge,  but  on  the  contrary,  warnings  and  declarations 
are  given,  implying  the  reverse.  And  though  Scripture  were  silent 
altogether,  or  even  though  it  stated  that  new  opportunities  would 
be  afforded,  where  is  the  hope  from  experience  that  those  in  the 
future  would  have  a  different  result  from  those  in  the  past  ?"  Such 
men  certainly  are  not  to  be  classed  with  those  who  say : 

"  The  gloomy  caverns,  and  the  burning  lakes, 
And  all  the  vain  infernal  trumpery, 
They  neither  are  nor  were,  nor  e'er  can  be." 

Even  Henry  Ward  Beecher,  whose  theological  creed  is  certainly 
expansive  enough  to  suit  the  tastes  of  the  most  revolutionary,  and 
who  never  misses  an  opportunity  of  attacking  the  commonly  ac- 
cepted doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  (in  language  unparalleled  for 
severity  and  biting  invective),  never  advocates  Universalism,  as  a 
certain  belief  In  his  sermon  entitled,  "The  background  of  mystery," 
he  goes  no  further  than  express  a  strong  hope  that  in  some  way 
wicked  men  shall  at  last  regain  lost  purity.  His  words  are  these : 
"  The  distinction  between  right  and  wrong  is  as  eternal  as  God 
himself  The  relation  between  sin  and  retribution  belongs  not  to 
the  temporal  condition  of  things  ,  it  inheres  in  the  divine  constitu- 
tion, and  is  for  eternity.  The  prospect  for  any  man  who  goes  out 
of  this  life,  resolute  in  sin,  may  well  make  him  tremble  for  himself 
and  may  well  make  us  tremble  for  him."     The  same  is  also  true  in 


366  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

regard  to  recent  declarations  of  belief  made  by  candidates  for  ordi- 
nation or  installation  in  New  England  Congregational  churches, 
where  if  anywhere  a  man  with  impunity  might  hold  such  a  doctrine 
without  fear  of  discipline.  At  a  recent  council  held  in  the  city  of 
Boston,  for  the  examination  of  a  minister,  while  many  of  the  older 
and  more  conservative  members  regretted  indefiniteness  of  expres- 
sion, and  uncertainty  as  to  the  state  after  death,  no  avowal  of  Uni- 
versalism  was  made.     These  are  the  statements  referred  to  : 

"  On  the  dark  and  difficult  topic  of  retribution  a  few  things  are 
clear  to  me.  These  I  will  state  as  plainly  and  as  frankly  as  I  can. 
They  relate  to  the  nature  of  retribution,  to  the  duration  of  it,  to  a 
possible  crisis  in  sinful  experience,  and  to  my  own  mental  attitude 
with  reference  to  the  whole  subject. 

'  First — What  is  the  nature  of  the  divine  retributions?  The 
nature  of  sin  makes  this  evident.  Sin  consists  in  wrong  spiritual 
relations.  It  is  a  denial  of  the  claims  of  God  and  of  man  upon  the 
individual  spirit.  It  is  practical  atheism  and  inhumanity.  It  is 
moral  disorder.  It  is  a  bad  spiritual  state, and  the  consciousness  which 
accompanies  that  state  is  its  punishment.  Sin  and  punishment  are 
linked  together  as  cause  and  effect.  The  cause  is  a  moral  cause, 
the  effect  is  a  moral  effect.  The  retributions  of  God  are  therefore 
moral  retributions.  The  words  eternal  life  and  eternal  punishment, 
I  am  fully  persuaded,  refer  primarily  to  a  certain  kind,  to  a  certain 
quality  of  being. 

"  But  the  question  of  duration  cannot  be  suppressed.  There- 
fore, the  next  point  to  be  met  is,  whether  eternal  punishment  is  also 
endless.  I  answer  without  reservation,  that  it  may  be  so.  A  soul 
may  sin  forever,  and  so  may  be  in  a  state  of  moral  death  forever. 
This  I  maintain  as  a  clear  possibility.  It  is  a  possibility  to  which 
all  sinners  arc  liable.  They  become  more  and  more  liable  to  it  the 
longer  they  persist  in  wrong-doing.  I  assert,  then,  the  possibility 
of  everlasting  punishment  as  a  consequence  of  the  possibility  of 
everlasting  sin.     Whether  there   will   be,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  any 


UNIVERSALISM.  36/ 

who  sin  forever,  whether  the  possibiHty  will  be  converted  into  a 
reality,  is  a  question  which  I  have  no  means  of  deciding.  The  one 
I  can  answer,  the  other  I  can  not. 

"  I  hold  the  same  view  in  reference  to  the  possibility  of  a  crisis 
in  the  sinner's  experience.  If  there  is  such  a  thing  as  the  possible 
possession  of  an  assured  Christian  character,  the  attainment  of  a 
fixed  position  in  the  divine  righteousness,  it  is  clear  to  me  that  there 
must  be  also  a  limit  in  the  sinner's  experience  beyond  which  he 
will  remain  steadfast  in  sin.  This  would  be  my  conception  of  the 
final  judgment.  Moral  life  and  moral  death  declare  themselves  in 
their  final  form.  The  processes  of  moral  life  and  moral  death  are 
thus  summed  up  and  set  forth. 

"  To  the  question,  whether  this  world  is  the  only  place  where 
human  beings  can  leave  unrighteousness  for  righteousness,  the  fel- 
lowship of  devils  for  the  fellowship  of  God  and  his  Son,  I  can  give 
no  answer  whatever.  I  do  not  know  enough  about  the  world  to 
come  to  decide  whether  those  who  are  impenitent  at  death  remain 
so  forever,  or  ultimately,  through  the  discipline  of  woe,  become  par- 
takers of  Christ's  life.  I  will  say,  however,  that  where  men  have 
steadfastly  resisted  light  here,  we  have  no  reason  to  believe  that 
they  will  not  resist  there  ;  that  in  view  of  our  ignorance,  all  men 
should  be  led  to  feel  that  the  question  of  eternal  life  and  eternal 
death,  in  point  of  duration,  no  less  than  in  quality  of  being,  may  be 
forever  settled  by  the  choice  of  the  present  hour. 

To  the  further  question,  as  to  what  influence  the  fact  of  physical 
death  may  have  upon  the  destiny  of  the  sinful  soul,  I  return  no 
answer.     It  may  have  much.     It  may  have  none  at  all." 

Professor  F.  D.  Maurice  of  England,  who  is  frequently  quoted 
as  an  opponent  of  the  "  Doctrine  of  Eternal  Punishment,"  as  ex- 
cluding the  notion  of  DURATION  from  the  word  "  Eternal,"  and  as 
maintaining  that  the  three-score  years  and  ten  of  man's  life,  do  not 
absolutely  limit  the  compassion  of  the  Father  of  spirits,  only  gives 
a  very  half-hearted   AGNOSTIC  concurrence  in   Universalism.     In 


368  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

order  to  show  that  he  did  not  hold  such  a  theory,  nor  that  of  Anni- 
hilationism,  but  merely  that  God's  punishments  of  evil  are  both 
retributive  and  reformatory,  and  that  after  death  it  was  only  possi- 
ble for  souls  under  punishment  to  turn  from  darkness  to  light,  and 
from  death  to  life, — he  published  the  following  statement  of  his 
views  : 

"  My  duty  I  feel  is  this  : 

1.  To  assert  that  which  I  know,  that  which  God  has  revealed, 
His  absolute  universal  love  in  all  possible  ways,  and  without 
limitation. 

2.  To  tell  myself  and  all  men,  that  to  know  this  love  and  to  be 
moulded  by  it,  is  the  blessing  we  are  to  seek. 

3.  To  say  that  this  is  eternal  life. 

4.  To  say  that  the  want  of  it  is  death. 

5.  To  say  that  if  they  believe  in  the  Son  of  God,  they  have 
eternal  life. 

6.  To  say  that  if  they  have  not  the  Son  of  God,  they  have  not 
life. 

7.  Not  to  say  who  has  the  Son  of  God,  because  I  do  not  know. 

8.  Not  to  say  how  long  any  one  may  remain  in  eternal  death, 
because  I  do  not  know. 

9.  Not  to  say  that  all  will  be  necessarily  raised  out  of  eternal 
death,  because  I  do  not  know. 

10.  Not  to  judge  any  before  the  time,  or  to  judge  other  men 
at  all  because  Christ  has  said,  "judge  not,  that  ye  be  not  judged." 

1 1.  Not  to  play  with  Scripture  by  quoting  passages  which  have 
not  the  slightest  connection  with  the  subject,  such  as,  "  where  the 
tree  falleth  it  shall  lie." 

12.  Not  to  invent  a  scheme  of  purgatory,  and  so  take  upon 
myself  the  office  of  the  Divine  Judge. 

13.  Not  to  deny  God  a  right  of  using  punishment  at  any  time 
or  any  where  for  the  reformation  of  His  creatures. 


UNIVERSALISM.  369 

14.  Not  to  contradict  Christ's  words  :  "  These  shall  be  beaten 
with  few,  these  with  many  stripes,"  for  the  sake  of  maintaining  a 
theory  of  the  equality  of  sins. 

15.  Not  to  think  any  punishment  of  God's  so  great  as  the 
saying,  •'  Let  them  alone." 

The  Council  of  Queen's  College,  London,  while  not  formulating 
any  statement  of  the  doctrines  they  condemned  in  the  teachings 
of  Professor  Maurice,  regarded  his  opinions  and  doubts  as  to  cer- 
tain points  of  belief,  on  the  punishment  of  the  wicked  and  the  final 
issues  of  the  day  of  judgment,  as  of  dangerous  tendency,  and 
calculated  to  unsettle  the  minds  of  the  theological  students.  Mr. 
Gladstone,  the  Prime  Minister  of  England,  then  made  a  proposal 
for  an  enquiry  by  competent  theologians,  as  to  how  far  the  writings 
of  Professor  Maurice  were  conformable  to,  or  at  variance  with,  the 
formularies  of  the  Church  of  England.  This  having  been  refused. 
Bishop  Wilberforce  submitted  a  formula  to  Professor  Maurice, 
which  was  accepted  by  him  without  hesitation,  unreservedly  and 
entirely,  and  is  as  follows  : 

I  cannot  but  think  that  in  contending  for  a  truth,  you  have  been 
led  into  an  exaggeration  of  its  proportions.  Will  you,  then,  suffer 
me  to  try  whether  I  can  aid  you  to  make  that  truth  more  plain  ? 

I.  What,  then,  I  understand  to  be  charged  against  you  is  this  : 
That  you  teach  that  the  revelation  of  God's  love  given  to  us  in  the 
Gospel  is  incompatible  with  His  permitting  any  of  the  creatures 
He  has  loved,  to  be  consigned  to  never  ending  torment,  and  that 
you  therefore  do,  with  more  or  less  clearness,  revive  the  old  doctrine 
of  the  Universalists,  that  after  some  unknown  period  of  torments, 
all  such  must  be  restored.  Now  I  do  not  understand  you  to  intend 
to  advocate  any  such  views.  What  I  do  understand  you  to  say  is 
this  :  That  to  represent  God  as  revenging  upon  His  creatures,  by 
<:orments  through  never  ending  extensions  of  time,  their  sinful  acts 
committed  here,  is  (i)  unwarrantably  to  transfer  to  the  eternal  world 


3/0  FUTUPK    PUNISHMENT. 

the  conditions  of  this  world  ;  and  that  eternity  is  not  time  pro- 
longed, but  rather  time  abolished,  and  that  it  is  therefore,  logically 
incorrect  to  substitute  in  the  Scriptural  proposition  for  "  eternal 
death"  "punishment  extended  through  a  never-ending  duration  of 
time  ;"  and  (2)  as  this  is  unwarranted,  so  it  is  dangerous  :  (a)  be- 
cause by  transferring  our  earthly  notions  of  such  prolonged  venge- 
ance to  God,  it  misrepresents  His  character  ;  (b)  because  as  men 
recoil  from  applying  to  themselves  or  others,  such  a  sentence,  it 
leads  to  the  introduction  of  unwarranted  palliatives  which  practi- 
cally explain  away  the  true  evil,  and  fatal  consequences  of  sin. 
What  I  understand  you  to  mean  affirmatively  to  teach  is  this : 

(a)  That  the  happiness  of  the  creature  consists  in  his  will  being 
brought  into  harmony  with  the  will  of  God.  (b)  That  we  are  here 
under  a  Divine  system,  in  which  God,  through  the  Mediator  and  by 
the  Spirit,  acts  on  the  will  of  the  creature  to  bring  it  into  harmony 
with  His  own  will,  (c)  That  we  see  in  this  world  the  creature,  in 
defiance  of  the  love  of  his  Creator,  able  to  resist  His  merciful  will, 
and  to  harden  himself  in  opposition  to  it,  and  that  misery  in  body 
and  soul  is  the  result  of  that  opposition,  (d)  That  it  is  revealed  to 
us  that  our  state  in  this  world  is,  so  to  speak,  the  seminal  prin- 
ciple of  what  it  is  to  be  in  its  full  development  in  that  world  which 
is  to  come,  and  that  therefore  a  will  hardened  against  His  must  be 
the  extremest  misery  to  the  creature  both  in  body  and  soul  ;  that 
this  hardened  separation  from  God,  with  its  consequent  torments, 
is  the  '  death  eternal '  spoken  of  in  Scripture — the  lake  of  fire, 
'  where  their  worm  dieth  not,  and  the  fire  is  not  quenched,'  &c.,  of 
which  we  know  no  limits,  and  from  which  we  know  of  no  escape  ; 
concerni-ng  which,  therefore,  it  is  unsafe  to  dogmatize  as  if  it  was 
subject  to  earthly  conditions  ;  and  that  in  any  contemplation  of  its 
horrors  we  must  always  contemplate  God's  exceeding  tove,  and 
remember  that  He  is  striving  through  the  Gospel  to  deliver  every 
sinner  from  it,  who  against  his  own  sin  will  appeal  to  Him  through 
Christ,     (e)  Finally,  that  to  conclude  that  after  a  certain  period  of 


UNIVERSALISM.  3/1 

such  sufTerIng  God's  vengeance  would  be  satisfied  and  the  lost  for- 
given future  suffering,  would  be  one  phase  of  the  error  against  which 
you  write,  'and  therefore  as  remote  as  possible  from  your  teaching." 

These  quotations  will  serve  to  show  how  very  uncertain  and 
unsatisfactory  arc  the  views  of  that  class  of  theologians,  who  are 
undecided  regarding  this  most  important  doctrine.  There  is  indeed 
no  halting  place  between  the  orthodox  doctrine  of  Eternal  Punish- 
ment, and  that  of  unlimited  and  unconditional  Universalism. 

Nor  can  we  conclude  that  Universalism  is  spreading,  because 
occasionally  individual  opinions  of  ministers  in  rigidly  orthodox 
churches,  conflict  with  the  confessions  they  have  subscribed.  The 
very  infrequency  of  such  instances  gives  the  men  a  notoriety  alto- 
gether out  of  proportion  to  their  importance  and  opinions.  Neither 
Universalist  or  Unitarian  Churches  are  making  any  progress  in 
Christendom,  despite  of  the  boastful  assertions  of  free  thinkers. 

An  American  Unitarian  clergyman,  who  lately  passed  over  to 
the  Episcopal  pulpit,  says  Unitarianism  was  a  constant  disappoint- 
ment to  him.  He  labored  to  build  up  "  decaying  and  almost  hope- 
less churches,"  but  everywhere  had  seen  "  the  Unitarian  cause 
steadily  declining.  Of  fifteen  churches  in  the  New  York  and 
Hudson  River  conferences,  six  had  died  outright  during  the  past 
twelve  years  ;  no  new  ones  had  been  planted  ;  and  those  remain- 
ing, with  three  or  four  exceptions,  are  just  alive  and  that  is  all. 
The  same  is  true  all  over  America,  and  England  too.  This  was 
what  caused  me  to  turn  my  studies  and  thoughts  in  the  direction 
of  the  older  Churches  and  faith." 

The  editor  of  a  well  known  religious  monthly  not  long  ago, 
sent  the  following  questions  to  leading  clergymen  in  the  United 
States  and  Great  Britain,  (i)  Do  you  find  among  the  laity  an 
increasing  skepticism  touching  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  ? 
(2)  Do  you  find  that  this  skepticism  makes  it  more  difficult  to 
awaken  and  sustain  an  interest  in  religion  among  the  masses? 
Among  the  replies  sent  we  select  the  following : 


372  future  punishment. 

Rev'd  C.  H.  Spurgeon  : 

"  I  cannot  but  believe  that  doubts  upon  endless  punishment  aid, 
with  other  things,  to  render  men  less  concerned  about  their  future 
state  ;  but  I  conceive  that,  if  they  were  not  hardened  by  this,  they 
would  come  under  some  other  form  of  deadening  influence.  Where 
the  Spirit  of  God  works  upon  men's  hearts  with  almighty  power, 
they  are  awakened,  and  come  to  Jesus  ;  but  apart  from  this,  they 
slumber  upon  one  pillow  or  another.  I  am  amazed  that,  after  the 
continual  efforts  to  introduce  modern  views,  so  very  few  of  our 
earnest  Christian  people  have  been  removed  from  the  old  faith. 
I  know  some  who  embraced  the  new  views,  but  soon  left  them,  as 
they  found  themselves  hindered  in  their  work  among  the  degraded. 
If  some  men  were  as  anxious  to  save  souls  as  they  are  to  make  us 
think  lightly  of  their  ruin,  it  would  be  better  for  themselves." 

Rev'd  Dr.  Sprecher,  San  Francisco : 

"  There  is  a  change  taking  place  in  the  form  in  which  the  doc- 
trine of  eternal  punishment  is  held.  There  is  no  doubt  a  growing 
belief  among  the  laity  in  a  probation  after  death  for  some,  but  also 
a  growing  conviction  that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  being  "guilty  of 
an  eternal  sin,"  and  that  eternal  punishment  will  accompany  eternal 
sin  as  its  natural  and  necessary  consequence.  Let  the  preacher 
take  for  his  text  before  a  popular  assembly  those  words  of  our 
Saviour,  regarding  everlasting  punishment,  and  he  will  find  that  no 
truth  of  Christianity  meets  with  more  general  assent  and  conviction. 
I  cannot  perceive  that  it  is  more  difficult  to  awaken  and  sustain 
religious  interest  among  the  masses  than  in  former  years.  Here  in 
California  it  is  generally  remarked  that  the  churches  are  attended 
better,  and  the  additions  on  profession  of  faith  are  larger  within  the 
last  five  or  six  years  than  ever  before  in  the  history  of  the  State. 
The  membership  of  our  churches  is  increasing  much  more  rapidly 
than  the  population. 

"  Twenty  years  ago,  there  was  but  one  church  member  to  every 
one  hundred  and  twenty-five  of  the  population  ;  now  there  is  one 


UNIVERSALISM.  373 

Protestant  church  member  to  every  twenty-nine  of  the  population. 
Membership  in  our  Protestant  churches  has  increased  in  the  last 
twenty  years  four  times  as  fast  as  the  population.  Our  mission 
schools  are  more  flourishing  every  year,  and  I  have  never  known 
so  many  laymen,  in  proportion  to  church  membership,  engaged  in 
Christian  work.  There  is  a  change  in  the  tone  or  manifestations 
of  religious  interest  among  the  masses.  We  cannot  produce  the 
old-time  excitements,  but  the  results  in  conversions  and  additions 
to  our  churches  are,  at  least  in  California,  greater  than  ever. 

Rev'd  Dr.  Wm.  Taylor,  Broadway  Tabernacle,  New  York  : 
"  Among  the  laymen  with  whom  I  have  had  the  privilege  of 
coming  into  contact,  I  have  not  found  skepticism  on  the  doctrine 
of  everlasting  punishment.  There  is  a  change  among  many  in  the 
way  in  which  the  doctrine  is  held,  as  compared  with  the  manner  in 
which  it  was  taught  and  maintained  in  former  generations.  Thus, 
it  is  now  generally  recognized  that  the  "  fire  "  is  a  material  figure 
of  a  spiritual  reality,  and  more  prominence  is  given  to  the  idea  of 
natural  consequences  than  to  that  of  judicial  infliction  in  the  matter 
of  the  punishment.  But  I  do  not  meet  with  many  who  deny  or 
disbelieve  the  doctrine.  Personally,  I  find  few  subjects  as  to  which 
my  people  are  more  responsive  than  the  duty  of  working  for  the 
evangelization  of  the  occupants  of  our  tenement  houses,  the  educa- 
tion and  christianization  of  the  freedmen,  and  the  making  of  pro- 
vision for  the  religious  instruction  of  the  immigrants  who  are  filling 
up  so  rapidly  our  Western  States  and  Territories," 
Rev'd  Dr.  Moses  Hoge,  Richmond,  Virginia : 
"  At  one  time  there  were  indications  of  a  growing  incredulity 
among  our  people  as  to  the  truth  of  the  doctrine  in  question.  This 
was  occasioned  by  the  publication  of  the  sermons  of  some  celebra- 
ted divines  in  England  and  the  United  States,  and  by  certain  maga- 
zine articles  assailing  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  in  an 
incisive  and  popular  manner.  But  these  were  successfully  answered, 
and  the  tendency  "to  increasing  skepticism"  very  evidently  checked, 


374  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

if  not  arrested.  There  is  generally  a  drift  in  public  sentiment  in 
that  direction  ;  but  just  now  there  arc  indications  of  a  reaction 
against  the  tendency  in  question.  The  attempt  has  frequently  been 
made  to  establish  a  Universalist  Church  in  Richmond,  but  it  has 
always  failed.  The  irreligion  of  our  people  is  rather  the  irreligion 
of  inconsideration,  or  of  mere  worldliness,  than  of  infidelity,  or  of 
any  defined  system  of  unbelief" 

Rev'd  Dr.  Robert  Paterson,  San  Francisco  : 

"  I  do  not  observe  an  increase  of  skepticism  among  the  laity  of 
my  acquaintance  touching  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  ;  nor 
do  I  believe  that  there  is  here,  in  San  Francisco,  a  widespread  skep- 
ticism upon  the  subject  among  the  masses.  I  have  two  reasons  for 
this  belief:  The  first  is,  the  decay  of  the  Unitarian  and  Universalist 
congregations  here  and  in  Oakland.  One  has  been  obliged  to  cur- 
tail its  expenses  ;  another  was  not  long  ago  sold  for  debt ;  and  none 
are  crowded.  The  most  unpolished  Irish  priest  who  lifts  a  wooden 
crucifix  before  his  hearers  on  Good  Friday  will  have  a  larger  audi- 
ence than  the  most  cultured  Universalist  preacher.  Or,  if  you  judge 
by  the  common  talk  of  the  crowds  along  the  wharves,  and  at  the 
depots,  you  will  not  be  allowed  to  forget  the  existence  of  hell  and 
damnation.  My  second  reason  for  asserting  that  the  masses  are 
not  Universalists  is,  that  the  most  popular  public  speakers  who  visit 
this  coast,  are  those  whose  preaching  is  full  of  warnings  to  flee  from 
the  wrath  to  come." 

Rev'd  Dr.  B.  M.  Palmer,  New  Orleans : 

"  I  do  not  find  speculative  doubts  as  to  the  eternal  duration  of 
future  punishment  cherished  to  any  extent.  The  sense  of  justice 
in  the  human  soul,  answering  to  the  justice  that  is  in  God,  demands 
the  vindication  of  the  divine  law  through  the  infliction  of  the  pen- 
alty. There  would  be  little  theoretic  diflficulty  on  this  subject 
among  the  masses  if  they  were  only  left  undisturbed  b}-  the  unli- 
censed speculations  of  flighty  theologians.  Some  of  these,  like 
John  Foster,  through  a  morbid  sentiment,  shrink  from  the  contem- 


UNIVERSALISM.  375 

plation  of  what  is  unspeakably  painful ,;  others  seek  personal  popu- 
larity, by  adjusting  religion  to  the  weaknesses  and  vices  of  men  ; 
whilst  others  still  are  unconsciously  led,  by  over- refinements  of 
criticism,  to  eliminate  from  the  Scriptures  what  has  always  been 
deemed  essential  to  the  integrity  of  the  Christian  faith.  But  as 
respects  the  masses  of  men,  their  robust  morality  easily  accepts  the 
penalty  as  a  necessary  feature  of  the  law. 

"  There  is,  however,  great  practical  insensibility  to  this  awful 
truth,  even  where  little  speculative  denial  of  it  exists.  It  is  a  part 
of  the  religion  which  men  are  seeking  to  construct  for  themselves 
to  hope  that  the  imperfection  of  their  works  will  be  overlooked 
through  the  clemency  of  the  Judge  ;  and  that  some  mode  of  deliv- 
erance will  be  discovered  at  the  last,  by  which  to  escape  the  full 
pressure  of  divine  wrath.  This  latent  unbelief  of  the  carnal  heart 
is  not  the  skepticism  named  in  these  questions.  It  prevaricates 
with  truth,  rather  than  openly  denies  it.  It  is  more  the  expression 
of  dread  than  the  consciousness  of  security.  It  is  the  indulgence 
of  a  vague  and  aimless  hope,  rather  than  a  well-reasoned  and 
clearly  formulated  conviction  of  the  judgment.  Fearful  as  this 
insensibility  to  the  evil  of  sin  may  be,  it  does  not  so  completely 
debauch  the  conscience  as  the  consolidated  skepticism  which  over- 
turns all  law  and  explodes  the  very  conception  of  justice." 

These  extracts  serve  to  show  that — "  The  old  theological  beliefs 
are  not  crumbling  around  us,"  notwithstanding  the  insidious  and 
unscrupulous  efforts  of  a  few,  who  seek  to  undermine  every  article 
of  faith  and  give  a  new  reading  to  the  word  of  God.  In  none  of 
the  leading  denominations  is  there  any  relaxing  of  creeds,  nor  do 
their  representative  men  give  forth  an  uncertain  sound.  The 
preaching  of  the  present  day  may  have  changed  somewhat  in  man- 
ner and  style  compared  with  that  of  the  seventeenth  century,  but 
the  old  doctrines  of  Scripture  are  held  with  a  no  less  tenacious 
grasp.  Charles  Spurgeon,  whose  words  we  have  already  quoted — • 
than  whom  no  living  man,  since  the  days  of  the  Apostles,  has  been 


37^  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

seized  more  fully  with  the  truth  of  God — may  be  regarded  as  voic- 
ing the  opinions  of  the  vast  majority  of  Christians,  when  he  says  in 
his  own  frank,  impassioned,  and  vigorous  Anglo  Saxon  :  "  As  for 
me,  I  believe  in  the  colossal  ;  a  need  as  deep  as  hell,  and  a  grace 
high  as  heaven.  I  believe  in  a  pit  that  is  bottomless,  and  a  heaven 
that  is  topless.  I  believe  in  an  infinite  God,  and  an  infinite  atone- 
ment, infinite  love  and  mercy  ;  an  everlasting  covenant  ordered 
in  all  things  and  sure,  of  which  the  substance  and  reality  is  an 
infinite  Christ." 


It  now  only  remains,  that  we  should  summarize  the  arguments 
which  have  been  advanced,  and  that  are  generally  held  in  behalf  of 
the  orthodox  view,  as  against  Universal  ism. 

The  impression  produced  upon  the  mind  by  a  candid  perusal 
of  the  Scriptures,  is  that  the  punishment  of  the  wicked  is  eternal. 

Belief  in  endless  punishment  corresponds  with  belief  in  the 
immortality  of  the  soul. 

The  Church  in  all  ages  has  accepted  the  doctrine. 

The  best  scholarship  of  every  age  and  land,  has  asserted  end- 
less punishment  to  be  the  true  teachings  of  the  w^ord  of  God. 

Many  who  deny  the  authority  cf  the  New  Testament  on  other 
points,  affirm  the  eternity  of  future  punishment. 

The  eternity  of  future  punishment  corresponds  with  the  pain- 
ful effects  of  sin  in  the  present  life.  Crimes  and  sins  of  brief  dura- 
tion leave  consequences  for  life.  Thoughtless  acts  involve  grave 
disasters.  The  wrong  doer  often  would  not  retrieve  himself  if  he 
could.  The  longer  he  continues,  the  surer  is  the  tendency  to  fix- 
edness of  character,  until  all  moral  feeling  becomes  extinct.  Evil 
passions  carry  in  themselves  the  germs  of  wickedness,  and  attain 
greater  strength,  until  change  of  disposition  is  hopeless. 

The  doctrine  is  in  harmony  with  all  the  teachings  of  the  word 
of  God.  It  justifies  the  fact  and  the  necessity  of  a  revelation,  and 
shows  the   need  of  divine   interposition  to   sav^e   man    from   eternal 


UNIVERSALISM.  377 

misery.  It  accords  with  the  revealed  character  of  God,  as  holy  and 
hating  sin,  while  willing  on  condition  of  repentance,  to  grant  a  full 
and  free  pardon.  It  accords  with  the  scriptural  view  of  the  awful 
nature  of  sin,  as  an  evil  of  immeasurable  magnitude,  malignity  and 
persistency.  It  accords  with  the  extraordinary  character  of  the 
remedy  proposed — atonement  through  the  death  of  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ. 

By  diminishing  the  evil  of  man's  fallen  state,  and  denying  the 
punishment  due  to  sin,  we  diminish  the  remedy. 

The  Scriptures  offer  saving  agencies  only  for  this  life. 

The  offers  of  salvation  here  are  made  on  conditions,  which  ex- 
clude hope,  if  rejected. 

The  danger  of  absolute  loss  under  present  means  of  grace  is 
constantly  implied  and  asserted. 

There  is  no  declaration  in  Scripture  of  the  limited  duration  of 
future  punishment. 

The  small  minority  of  Christendom  who  deny  that  the  doctrine 
of  Eternal  Punishment  is  in  the  New  Testament  are  in  irreconcilable 
conflict  what  to  find  in  its  place.  One  class  find  (i)  "age  long" 
punishment  ;  another  (2)  immediate  blessedness  ;  another  (3)  utter 
extinction  ;  another  (4)  punishment  outside  of  time,  wholly  "drop- 
ping the  idea  of  duration  ;"  and  another  (5)  and  the  latest  class,  pro- 
fess "  utter  ignorance,"  and  find  total  darkness  brooding  over  the 
subject,  whether  it  be  restitution,  extinction,  or  everlasting  pun- 
i-shment. 

The  difficulties  of  belief  in  endless  punishment  of  sin  are  im- 
mensely less  than  those  of  unbelief.  The  doctrine  is  so  obvious 
and  pervasive  in  the  scriptures,  that  the  rejection  of  this  one 
involves  rejection  of  all  the  others. 

The  following  positive  objections  to  Universalism  are  worthy 
ol  mention  : 

The  Christian  Church  has  with  very  great  unanimity  condemned 
the  doctrine. 


37^  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

It  militates  against  the  doctrine  of  the  atonement,  for  if  all  men 
shall  ultimately  be  saved,  where  the  necessity  for  the  sacrifice  of 
God's  own  Son. 

It  is  directly  opposed  to  divine  justice,  for  if  all  are  saved  there 
is  no  difference  between  saint  and  sinner. 

If  sinners  in  hell  are  to  be  restored,  they  must  be  dealt  with  as 
moral  and  responsible  beings.  They  must  have  the  Gospel  preached 
to  them  and  the  offer  of  pardon  revealed.  If  preached  to,  why  not 
prayed  for  ?  But  Scripture  teaches  us  that  the  lost  are  bevond  the 
reach  of  prayer  and  the  appeals  of  the  Gospel. 

Any  termination  or  abatement  of  the  sufferings  of  the  los^, 
supposes  their  sufferings  to  be  of  an  expiatory  kind.  If  liberated 
from  punishment  after  a  term  of  years,  they  must  be  considered  to 
have  had  all  the  sufferings  due  their  sins. 

If,  as  admitted  by  Universalists,  suffering  does  not  change  the 
heart,  it  may  be  reasonably  conceived  that  sufferings  after  death 
will  but  awaken  a  more  deadly  enormity  against  God. 

If  the  lost  are  still  the  objects  of  God's  love,  as  they  must  be  if 
he  means  to  save  them,  is  it  just  or  right  to  subject  them  to  ever- 
lasting suffering,  or  for  a  period  that  may  be  called  so,  before  he 
brings  them  to  repentance  ? 

Finally,  the  doctrine  of  Universalism  is  inconsistent  with  itself 
for  on  the  one  hand  it  maintains  that  sin  does  not  deserve  eternal 
punishment,  and  therefore  there  was  no  need  of  a  Redeemer  to  save 
sinners,  as  in  the  course  of  time  they  would  come  out  by  dischar- 
ging their  own  debt ;  but  on  the  other  hand,  it  teaches  that  men 
are  delivered  from  sin  and  hell  by  the  death  of  Christ,  which  sup- 
poses that  they  could  not  be  delivered  without  his  mediation.  These 
things  are  irreconcilable.  Are  sinners  saved  from  hell,  by  the  oper- 
ation of  justice,  or  mercy?  If  the  former,  then  the  death  of  Christ 
was  unnecessary,  and  the  damned  are  saved  without  being  under 
any  obligation  to  Christ,  and  all  men  might  have  been  saved  in  the 
same  way.     If  the  latter,  then  eternal  punishment  is  consistent  with 


UNIVERSALISM.  379 

justice  and  all  the  divine  attributes.  Is  the  reason  why  sinners  arc 
released  from  hell,  because  they  have  satisfied  justice  by  their  suf- 
ferings, or  because  Christ  has  atoned  for  their  sins  ?  Or  again, 
does  the  sinner  in  hell  suffer  all  the  penalty  threatened  in  the  divine 
law,  or  is  he  released  from  that  penalty  by  the  atonement  of  Christ  ? 
If  the  former,  then  certainly  he  is  saved  without  dependence  on 
Christ ;  if  the  latter,  how  long  must  he  have  suffered,  if  a  mediator 
had  not  interposed  ?  If  only  for  some  longer  time,  then  Christ  by 
his  death,  does  no  more  than  shorten  the  period  of  his  punishment, 
which  would  have  come  to  an  end  without  a  Mediator's  interposition. 
We  object  then,  to  the  doctrine  of  Universalism,  not  simply 
because  we  believe  it  to  be  utterly  antagonistic  to  the  teachings  of 
God's  word,  but  because  we  believe,  that  when  carried  out  to  its 
legitimate  and  logical  results,  it  leads  to  utter  rejection  of  all  the 
fundamental  doctrines  of  Christianity.  If  all  men  are  to  be  saved, 
whence  the  need  of  atonement?  Are  the  life,  sufferings,  and  death 
of  Christ  a  myth  ?  Are  the  New  Testament  accounts  of  the  divine 
tragedy  of  Calvary  allegorical  ?  Are  the  statements  both  of  the 
Old  and  New  Testament  false,  that  without  the  shedding  of  blood 
and  the  remission  of  sins  in  the  present  life,  a  blessed  immortality 
is  impossible?  Was  Christ  divine  or  human  ?  The  Scriptures  say 
divine — the  Universalist  says  it  matters  not,  for  apart  from  the 
efficacy  of  atonement,  all  men  at  last  equally  share  the  honors  of 
heaven.  The  sacrifice  of  Christ  was  not  designed  to  save  men 
from  endless  punishment,  says  the  Universalist,  nor  were  His  suf- 
ferings in  any  sense  expiatory.  Each  man  must  suffer  in  his  own 
person  for  his  sins.  Christ  endured  ignominy  and  privation  in 
behalf  of  mankind,  and  not  in  their  stead.  He  labored  and  died 
tor  us  as  one  friend  or  brother  should  suffer  for  another,  for  our 
benefit,  our  spiritual  improvement,  our  permanent  happiness,  but 
beyond  this  there  was  no  saving  efficacy  in  His  death  more  than 
that  of  any  other  man.  He  was  a  martyr  and  nothing  more.  Uni- 
tarians who  deny  the  divinity  of  Christ,  join  hands  with  Universa'- 


380  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

ists  in  such  statements.  Belsham  and  Priestly,  noted  Unitarians, 
say  in  their  writings  that  the  sufferings  of  the  future  life,  however 
intense,  or  however  permanent,  will  be  effectual  to  purify  the  sinner 
from  his  moral  stains,  and  qualify  him  for  ultimate  happiness.  All 
men  may  therefore  keep  themselves  perfectly  easy  about  the  mat- 
ter— that  they  will  be'  happy  at  last — since  God  has  created  us  for 
happiness,  and  we  need  not  fear  misery.  The  only  difference  is 
that  some  will  go  to  eternal  happiness  more  directly  than  others. 
And  when  we  find  a  noted  Free-thinker  in  Boston,  supplementing 
such  views  by  saying :  "  I  wish  there  were  a  God  ;  I  wish  I  could 
find  some  evidence  of  his  existence,  but  I  cannot.  The  universe  is 
not  governed  as  I  w^ould  govern  it,  and  it  seems  to  me  there  is 
nothing  upon  the  throne,"  is  it  too  much  to  say  that  Universalism 
— unconsciously,  perhaps,  to  many  of  its  advocates,  but  not  less 
really — leads  to  a  denial  of  all  that  is  worthy  of  the  name  of  religion, 
and  ends  in  blank  infidelity  and  Materialism?  Were  such  opinions 
to  become  general,  what  hope  would  there  be  for  our  world  ?  But 
they  never  can.  As  Benjamin  Franklin  once  wrote  to  Thomas 
Paine,  when  he  meditated  the  publication  of  an  athiestic  book,  so 
we  may  remonstrate  with  propagators  of  such  errors.  "  You  will 
not  succeed,  so  as  to  change  the  general  sentiments  of  mankind  on 
the  subject  of  religion  and  the  consequence  of  printing  this  piece 
will  be  mischief  to  you  and  no  benefit  to  others.  I  would  advise 
you  therefore,  not  to  attempt  unchaining  the  tiger.  If  men  are  so 
wicked  with  religion,  what  would  they  do  without  it !" 

Those  who  greedily  embrace  Universalism  as  a  rule,  are  not  the 
truly  pious,  who  endeavor  to  live  in  obedience  to  the  gospel,  but 
men  of  corrupt  lives  who  seek  indulgence  of  sin.  A  few  apparently 
devout  christians  may  favor  the  doctrine,  and  among  Universalists 
there  are  found  men  of  high  moral  character,  but  those  who  glory 
in  the  belief,  that  the  righteous  and  the  wicked  shall  alike  enjoy 
eternal  happiness,  are  the  most  profligate  in  every  community.  The 
influence  of  such  a  doctrine  upon  the  mind,  in  times  of  strong  temp- 


UNIVERSALISM.  38 1 

tation,  can  easily  be  conjectured,  If  there  is  no  future  punishment, 
or  if  hell  is  but  a  temporary  resting  place  on  the  way  to  heaven, 
why  should  the  vilest  be  restrained  from  indulgence  in  the  greatest 
crimes  ?  "  Convince  men  that  there  is  no  hell  awaiting  those  who 
spend  an  earthly  life  in  wrong-doing,  and  what  legitimate  results 
follow?  Crush  out  of  souls  the  forebodings  of  distant  and  certain 
accountability  and  punishment ;  convert  communities  into  the  belief 
that  the  Scriptures  mean  the  Valley  of  Hinnom  when  they  speak 
of  hell  ;  annihilate  generally  the  emotions  of  fear  as  to  the  outcome 
of  life  that  ever  and  anon  rise  like  ghastly  spectres  in  human  souls, 
and  the  race,  already  desperately  wicked  under  potent  and  manifold 
restraints,  will  give  full  license  to  the  deadliest  passions,  that  slum- 
ber like  torpid  serpents  in  human  breasts." 

If,  then,  Universalism  is  not  only  unscriptural,  but  if  such  be  its 
character  and  tendencies,  should  we  not  be  more  than  ever  con- 
firmed in  the  truth  of  God's  word,  which  teaches  : 

That  there  are  two  conditions  of  existence  in  another  life. 
That  one  of  them  is  a  conscious  state  of  unutterable  joy,  and 
that  this  state  is  endless  ;  and  the  other  condition  a  state  of  unut- 
terable suffering,  and  that  is  endless. 

That  there  is  as  much  reason  to  doubt  the  state  of  unutterable 
and  endless  joy  as  there  is  to  doubt  the  state  of  unutterable  and 
endless  suffering. 

That  the  design  of  Christ  in  the  work  of  his  redemption  is  to 
recover  those  who  are  fearfully  exposed  to  a  state  of  unutterable 
and  endless  suffering,  and  to  secure  to  them  a  state  of  unutterable 
joy. 

That  the  state  of  unutterable  and  endless  joy  in  the  untried 
future  will  be  entirely  the  result  of  a  certain  manner  of  living  on 
earth. 

That  the  state  of  unutterable  and  endless  suffering  in  the  untried 
future  will  be  entirely  the  result  of  a  certain  manner  of  living  on 
earth. 


382  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

That  the  present  Hfc  is  of  God  the  only  state  of  probation,  and 
the  destiny  of  each  person  is  then  fc>rever  fixed  of  him. 

In  closing  this  brief  review  of  the  prevalent  theories  concerning 
a  future  state,  I  have  but  two  remarks  to  make.  If  we  test  Uni- 
versalism  and  kindred  faiths,  by  the  number  of  their  adherents  and 
their  actual  results,  there  is  nothing  to  cause  alarm  among  those 
who  hold  fast  to  the  old  doctrines  of  Scripture.  Although  Univer- 
salism  appeals  to  much  in  human  nature,  that  eagerly  grasps  at  the 
possibilty  of  escape  from  the  consequences  of  sin,  there  are  but  few 
who  confidentially  and  unhesitatingly  accept  it  as  a  satisfactory 
ground  of  trust.  Its  growth  has  been  marvellously  slow,  compared 
with  that  of  other  systems  of  religion,  whose  creeds  are  regarded 
as  far  more  severe  and  uncongenial  to  the  mass  of  men.  If  again, 
we  test  it  by  what  it  does  for  the  amelioration  of  the  present  wrongs 
and  the  general  good  of  society  at  large,  the  actual  results  will  be 
found  meagre  and  unimportant  compared  with  that  of  the  orthodox 
churches.  The  benevolent  and  charitable  institutions  of  this  land 
and  the  United  States,  depend  largely,  if  not  almost  exclusively, 
for  their  support  upon  the  members  of  evangelical  churches,  while 
as  regards  the  christianizing  of  the  world,  universalists,  and  such  as 
hold  similar  views,  take  little  interest  in,  have  no  sympathy  with, 
and  do  nothing  towards  the  spread  of  Gospel  truth.  Nor  is  this 
surprising,  for  a  religion  that  teaches  that  all  men  will  eventually 
be  saved,  takes  away  all  stimulus  to  bring  men  out  of  a  state  of 
condemnation  into  that  of  pardon  in  the  present  world.  Many  of 
the  members  of  such  churches  undoubtedly  do  engage  in  deeds  of 
charity  and  missions  of  mercy,  and  give  for  the  extension  of  the 
truth,  but  not  so  much  because  of,  as  in  despite  of  their  creed. 

Those  who  have  to  any  extent  been  unsettled  in  their  con- 
victions, as  to  the  certainty  of  future  and  endless  punishment  by 
the  teachings  of  Universalism  and  Rationalism,  ought  seriously  to 
ask  themselves,  why  they  are  so  ready  to  exchange  what  they  have 
so  long  regarded  as  the  truth,  for  what  is  at  the  best  but  a  hope. 


UNIVERSALISM.  383 

Is  not  a  present  heaven  more  attractive  than  one  gained  after  u 
long  period  of  pain  and  purification  ?  But  even  this  is  not  merely 
uncertain,  but  as  we  have  seen,  most  improbable.  Forgiveness  may 
be  had  now.  God  makes  offer  of  it.  He  welcomes  the  prodigal 
sinner  back  to  the  home  he  has  forsaken,  and  the  love  he  has  des- 
pised.    Now  is  the  accepted  time  :  Now  is  the  day  of  salvation. 

"Come  home  !  come  home  ! 
You  are  weary  at  heart. 
For  the  way  has  been  dark 
And  so  lonely  and  wild. 
Come  home  !  come  home  ! 
From  the  sorrow  and  blame, 
From  the  sin  and  the  shame. 

And  the  tempter  that  smiled. 
O  Prodigal  child. 
Come  home,  oh,  come  home." 

"  Died  with  a  straw  in  his  hand,"  is  the  heading  of  a  paragraph 
in  one  of  our  religious  monthlies,  when  describing  the  sad  fate  of  a 
poor  man,  who  had  fallen  over  a  steep  embankment,  near  a  railway 
station  in  England.  In  one  hand  there  was  a  straw,  which  he  had 
evidently  grasped  as  he  fell,  in  his  last  and  vain  endeavor  to  save 
himself.  It  was  only  a  straw,  and  was  of  no  avail.  There  he  lay 
dead,  "  with  a  straw  in  his  hand."  How  strikingly  illustrative  of 
the  tens  of  thousands,  who  are  clinging  to  some  false  hope  of  res- 
toration to  God's  favor  after  death  ;  holding  on  tenaciously  to  the 
negative  guesses  of  Purgatory,  Probationism,  Annihilationism  and 
Universalism,  instead  of  at  once  accepting  the  offer  of  pardon,  and 
resting  securely  upon  the  Rock  of  Ages.  To  err  on  such  an  im- 
portant question,  as  to  the  condition  of  the  soul  beyond  the  grave, 
is  dangerous.  If  Universalists  are  right  in  the  belief  that  all  men 
will  at  once  or  eventually  be  saved,  those  who  deny  the  doctrine 
lose  nothing ;  for  whatever  becomes  of  the  wicked,  the  dead  in 
Christ  are  certain  of  salvation  and  eternal  happiness.  But  if  Uni- 
versalism is  not  true,  what  of  those  who  make  it  the  foundation  of 


384  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

their  hope?     If  the  misery  of  impenitent  sinners  is  eternal,  how 
g^reat  their  surprise  and  how  inexpressible  their  loss ! 

It  is  quite  possible  to  awake  too  late  to  a  knowledge  of  our 
future  condition,  and  anticipate  the  remorse  of  eternity  while  in  the 
body.  Tallyrand,  the  prince  of  French  diplomatists,  long  denied 
the  doctrine  of  deathless  retribution  as  the  result  of  a  life  of  sin,  but 
as  he  confronted  death,  he  said  to  his  friend  Louis  Philippe,  "  Sire, 
I  suffer  already  the  pangs  of  the  damned."  Francis  Newport,  the 
brilliant  English  infidel  of  the  seventeenth  century,  realized,  when 
too  late,  the  truth  of  God's  word  as  to  the  endlessness  of  future  pun- 
ishment, and  in  his  last  illness  cried  out,  "Oh  !  that  I  was  to  lie  on 
the  fire  that  never  is  quenched  a  thousand  years  to  purchase  the 
favor  of  God,  and  be  reconciled  to  him  again  !  But  it  is  a  fruitless 
wish.  Millions  of  millions  of  years  will  bring  me  no  nearer  to  the 
end  of  my  torture  than  one  poor  hour."  Voltaire,  the  Goliath  of 
French  infidels,  as  he  has  been  called,  laughed  to  scorn  the  idea  of 
punishment  after  death.  But  at  last  remorse  seized  him,  and  turn- 
ing to  Dr.  Trochin,  who  stood  by  his  bedside,  he  said,  "  I  shall  go 
to  hell,  Sir,  and  you  will  go  with  me."  These  sad  utterances,  which 
might  be  indefinitely  multiplied,  show  how  effectually  the  greatest 
scoffers  are  abandoned  to  despair,  and  find  no  comfort  in  the  hope- 
less teachings  of  Universalism  when  face  to  face  with  the  King  of 
Terrors.     In  the  well-known  lines  of  the  Paraphrase  : 

"When,  like  the  whirlwind  o'er  the  deep, 
Comes  desolation's  blast ; 
Praj^ers  then  extorted  shall  be  vain, 
The  hour  of  mercy  past." 


NOTES  AND  ADDITIONAL  PAPERS 

ON 

FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 


^s^ 


A' 


5^^^.^. 

^^^ 


RESTORATIONISM. 


In  the  Light  of  General  Christian  Doctrine. 


't'jM&d\  HE  theories  of  Future  Punishment  which  have  lately 

f-^l^-iwrf  3      attracted  so  much  attention  are  ultimately  to  be  judged 

\,^/iil^>i      by  Scripture  in  its  direct  utterances  on  the  question. 

^^^^^^^•^      The  topic  is  confessedly  so  high  and  wide-reaching 

''^Wi     that  no  independent  light  of  reason  can  satisfactorily  settle 

ff/fr' 

^"^^       the  points  that  arise  under  it,  and  only  the  clear  expression 

of  the  mind  of  God  brought  home  to  the  minds  of  Christians  by 
fair  interpretation  can  be  expected  to  give  such  rest  as  is  attainable 
in  such  a  matter.  I,  for  one,  am  persuaded  that  the  direct  testi- 
monies of  Scripture  are  sufficient  to  settle  these  points  as  they  have 
been  generally  held  in  our  received  theology  ;  and  whatever  diffi- 
culties may  surround  these  conclusions,  I  desire  to  leave  them  «•''"'" 
the  Judge  of  all  the  earth,  who  will  do  right.  But  in  addition  to 
the  direct  testimonies  of  Scripture  on  these  points,  there  is  that 
indirect  but  most  important  testimony  of  Scripture  which  lies  in 
the  texture  of  Christian  theology  as  a  whole,  and  which  is  called 
by  theologians  the  Analogy  of  Faith.  The  doctrines  of  Scripture 
arc  not  insulated  but  symmetrical ;  and  the  soundness  of  our  con- 
clusions as  to  each  in  detail  is  to  be  tested  by  its  harmony  with  all 
the  rest.  It  is  in  this  light  that  I  shall  endeavor  to  raise  and  to 
examine  this  question,  so  as  to  inquire  how  far  Restorationism 
agrees  with  the  Bible  Theology  as  a  whole. 


388  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

The  theory  of  Restoration,  logically,  ought  to  include  all  fallen 
moral  beings,  but  those  who  hold  it,  in  many  cases,  hesitate  to  fol- 
low it  to  this  extreme,  so  that  it  might  be  asked  of  me  first  to  dis- 
cuss human  Restoration,  and  then  to  remark  upon  Restoration  in 
its  widest  possible  aspect.  I  find  it,  however,  beyond  my  power  to 
separate  the  two  questions  ;  but  I  shall  endeavor  to  respect,  as  far 
as  may  be,  the  actual  differences  of  position,  while  tracing  logical 
consequences  to  their  limit.  I  shall  consider  Restoration  not  only 
in  the  light  of  the  doctrine  of  sin,  and  that  also  of  atonement,  but 
in  the  light  of  the  doctrines  of  grace  and  free-will,  and  those  of  the 
Church  and  the  means  of  salvation. 

I.  Taking  together  the  doctrines  of  Sin  and  of  Atonement,  I 
think  it  might  be  conceded,  that  if  Scripture  distinctly  connected 
the  alleged  prospect  of  recovery  after  death  or  judgment,  with  a 
provision  for  full  expiation,  and  that  provision,  the  atonement  of 
Christ ;  and  if  there  were  nothing  of  hope  cherished  by  Restora- 
tionists,  and  on  general  restoration  principles,  where  atonement  did 
not  accompany  it,  then  whatever  difficulty  or  impossibility  lay  in 
their  making  good  their  particular  proof-texts,  there  were  nothing 
in  the  general  doctrines  of  sin  or  of  atonement  to  bar  their  theories. 
For  Restorationism  does  not,  like  Annihilationism,  profess  to  be 
an  exhaustion  of  penalty  by  the  creature,  which  then  ceases.  It 
professes  to  be  a  return  to  God  in  faith  and  submission,  which 
avails,  after  the  commonly-received  day  of  grace  is  past,  by  virtue 
of  the  Saviour's  yet  unexhausted  death  and  sacrifice.  I  cannot  at 
all  accept  the  proof-texts  which  the  Restorationists  allege,  nor  set 
aside  the  opposite.  I  only  grant  here,  that  there  is  not  the  same 
collision  with  the  doctrine  of  sin  and  of  atonement  in  their  general 
aspects,  as  on  the  Annihilation  system  ;  and  if  human  recovery 
could  be  looked  at  by  itself — however,  as  I  think,  excluded  by  light 
of  revelation  bearing  on  the  matter — that  recovery  as  based  upon 
expiation  would  not  subvert  the  general  doctrine  of  sin  and  of  sacri- 
fice.    But  the  case  is,  I  think,  entirely  changed,  when  human  rccov- 


RESTORATIONISM.  3»9 

ery  is  seen  in  relation  to  the  fallen  angels  and  their  destiny.  The 
doctrine  of  Restoration  so  tends  to  include  them  ;  their  recovery  is 
resisted  with  such  difficulty  by  those  who  hold  the  doctrine  in  any 
form  ;  and  so  many  of  the  pressing  motives  drawn  from  the  alleged 
character  of  God,  and  the  necessity  of  final  unity  in  the  universe, 
urge  with  redoubled  force  when  human  restoration  is  granted,  that 
it  is  hardly,  if  at  all,  possible  to  consider  the  doctrine  of  sin  and 
atonement  as  restricted  to  man's  ultimate  salvation.  But  where  is 
the  scheme  of  Christian  theology  that  connects  the  Bible  remedy 
for  sin  with  the  fallen  angels  ?  It  lies  not  only  outside  of  particu- 
lar texts,  but  of  the  whole  of  Scripture  and  of  the  theology  founded 
upon  it :  insomuch  that  if  the  salvation  of  higher  fallen  beings  is 
believed  in,  it  is  really  on  the  basis  of  exhaustion  of  penalty,  or  on 
other  grounds  unknown  or  adverse  to  Scripture  ;  and  this  not  only 
involves  the  schemes  of  restorationism  that  admit  this  consequence, 
but  those  even  that  conceal  or  reject  it,  in  the  greatest  difficulties  ; 
for  the  restoration  of  fallen  angels  is  either  rejected  against  the 
genius  of  the  system,  or  the  atonement  of  Christ  is  accepted  merely 
as  one  of  two  equal  alternatives  in  restoring  to  God.  I  hold,  there- 
fore, the  tendencies  of  the  restoration  scheme  in  the  actual  circum- 
stances of  the  case,  to  be  highly  unfavorable  to  strict  views  of  the 
demerit  of  sin  and  of  the  need  of  atonement  ;  and  my  fear  is,  that 
sincere  reverence  for  these  positions,  such  as  may  still  linger  in  those 
who  have  entered  upon  this  new  path,  must  more  and  more  encoun- 
ter subversive  influences  before  which  it  will,  ere  long,  vanish  away. 
2.  When  we  advance  from  Sin  and  x^tonementto  Free-will  and 
Grace,  and  test  the  theories  of  Restoration  by  these  doctrines,  the 
issue  does  not  seem  more  hopeful.  Where  free-will  predominates 
in  Christian  theology,  there  may  seem  to  all  eternity  the  abstract 
possibility  of  return  in  the  inherent  power  of  the  will.  But  it  is  to 
be  remembered  that  according  to  one  section  of  theologians  who 
belong  to  this  school,  evil  has  entered  by  free-will,  in  spite  of  every 
effort  of  God  to  exclude  it,  while  still  more  of  them  hold,  that  it  has 


390  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

continued  in  spite  of  every  effort,  not  destructive  of  the  will,  to 
recover  from  it  ;  and  hence  anything  like  a  scheme  of  restoration, 
other  than  partial,  and  entirely  dependent  for  its  decisive  impulse 
on  the  will  of  the  sinful  creature,  is  not  to  be  contended  for.  It 
seems  also  very  hard  on  this  high  doctrine  of  inalienable  self- 
determining  will  to  exclude  the  view  of  Origen,  as  to  the  equal 
power  of  falling  from  future  blessedness,  so  as  to  balance  recovery, 
however  far  it  might  go.  Let  it  be  added,  that  the  reliance  some- 
times expressed  upon  the  influences  connected  with  the  solemn 
scenes  of  the  life  to  come,  is  hardly  borne  out  by  the  experiences  of 
earth,  in  so  far  as  they  approach  in  impressiveness  to  those  that  lie 
behind  the  veil  :  and  here  again  the  case  of  the  fallen  angels  comes 
in  to  check  any  such  confidence,  since  no  series  of  conversions  have 
from  age  to  age  marked  their  history,  though  passed  amidst  the 
light  of  the  world  to  us  unknown,  such  as  the  theories  of  restoration 
project  into  the  future,  if  not  in  their  instance,  in  that  of  other 
moral  beings,  who  at  length  not  only  believe  and  tremble,  but  be- 
lieve and  repent.  It  cannot,  I  think,  but  be  felt,  that  so  extraordi- 
nary a  power  of  free-will,  exerted  after  the  utmost  hardening,  and 
even,  to  be  logically  complete,  taking  in  the  fallen  spirits  them- 
selves, is  really  a  discord  even  in  those  schemes  which  exalt  the 
element  of  freedom  rather  than  of  grace,  in  so  far  as  they  still  hold 
to  serious  and  earnest  Christian  theology. 

If  now,  we  turn  to  that  type  of  Christian  theology  which  exalts 
grace,  and  to  which  not  only  Calvinists  but  a  multitude  of  Arme- 
nians, who  hold  in  spirit  with  them  are  attached,  we  find,  no  doubt, 
a  power  in  the  abstract,  which,  so  far  as  we  see,  could  work  changes  ; 
but  then  on  this  ground  the  first  principles  of  a  large  school  of 
Restorationists  must  be  wholly  given  up,  and  others  so  greatly 
modified  as  practically  to  be  surrendered.  The  adherents  of  grace 
and  the  expectants  of  its  exercise,  with  one  consent,  hold  that  the 
sinful  creature  has  forfeited  all  claim,  that  his  sentence,  however 
dread,  is  just,  and  that  he  has  no  right  whatever  to  ask  any  remis- 


RESTORATION  ISM.  39 1 

sion  or  transition  by  inward  saving  operations  from  one  state  to 
another.  To  demand  sovereign  influence,  as  so  many  Restoration- 
ists  do,  as  an  unpaid  debt,  as  something  without  which  God  would 
be  unrighteous  and  cruel,  is  to  forget  the  ground  of  gracious  deal- 
ing to  which  professedly  they  have  come  over  ;  and  if  it  were 
granted  it  would  make  the  saved  after  judgment  differ  from  the 
saved  in  time,  in  tracing  their  salvation  to  something  else  than  free 
and  absolute  mercy.  The  moment  that  the  idea  of  grace  in  the 
full  sense  is  realized,  there  is  room  for  limitation  of  times  and  op- 
portunities ;  and  though  no  theologian  of  this  school  holds  that  God 
is  arbitrary,  or  suffers  a  soul  to  be  lost  where  His  love,  acting  in 
liarmony  with  righteousness  and  wisdom,  could  save  it,  yet  the  path 
of  His  love  and  grace  is  no  longer  a  question  for  mere  abstract 
power  to  decide,  but  must  be  decided  by  the  whole  of  God's  char- 
acter ;  and  the  issue,  though  it  be  not  universal  salvation  in  the 
end,  or  an  ever-recurring  salvation,  irrespective  of  a  day  of  grace, 
must  be  adored  and  acquiesced  in,  however  mysterious,  as  giving 
the  largest  scope  to  God's  saving  attributes,  and  to  the  sinner's  co- 
operation in  any  availing  sense,  that  was  rationally  possible.  Those 
who  believe  in  grace,  believe  that  God  saves  to  the  uttermost,  though 
that  uttermost  be  not  absolute.  There  is  no  heartless  limitation  or 
arrest  in  their  creed,  as  is  sometimes  unjustly  charged.  But  thi.t 
naked  and  unconditioned  universality  which  Restorationists  assert 
to  be  the  only  form  that  grace  can  assume,  is  illogically  urged.  For 
the  idea  of  grace  throws  the  matter  back  ujjon  God  Himself,  and 
what  His  arbitrament  and  consequent  working  in  a  case  so  peculiar 
and  unexampled  may  be,  we  know  far  too  little  of  the  history  and 
meaning  of  evil  in  the  universe  to  affirm,  and  ought  rather  to  say, 
"  It  is  the  Lord,  let  Him  do  what  seemeth  unto  Him  good." 

3.  The  only  other  topics  in  theology,  whereby  it  is  here  proposed 
to  test  the  Restorationist  scheme,  are  those  of  the  Church  and  the 
Means  of  Salvation.  So  far  as  restoration,  expected  either  before 
the  judgment  or  after  it,  is  concerned,  there  seems  a  very  wide  sev- 


392  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

erance  between  it  and  any  such  agencies  as  the  Church  is  consti- 
tuted and  upheld  in  order  to  supply.  The  whole  look  of  things,  so 
far  as  the  direction  of  the  great  stream  of  salvation  in  Scripture  is 
concerned,  contemplates  the  operation  of  a  visible  Church  in  the 
world,  which  makes  known  the  Gospel,  and  sets  up  its  ordinances, 
and  thus  beseeches  men  to  be  reconciled  to  God,  and  helps  believ- 
ers, by  order  and  fellowship,  "in  the  way  to  heaven.  All  historical 
Churches,  as  sections  of  the  great  visible  Church,  have  laid  stress 
on  this  work  of  theirs,  and  have  thus  responded  in  their  theology 
to  the  strain  of  unspeakable  earnestness  with  which  Scripture  exalts 
its  own  use  and  value,  and  urges  men  at  once  to  receive  it  and  make 
it  known  to  others,  as  the  power  of  God  unto  salvation. 

It  is  certainly  anything  but  the  first  impression  of  things,  as 
drawn  from  Scripture,  that  there  should  be  a  great  unrevealed  and 
independent  system  of  grace,  working  in  total  detachment  from 
this  scheme  of  visible  salvation,  running  parallel  to  it  in  time, 
stretching  beyond  it  into  eternity,  and  at  length  gathering  up,  so 
far  as  appears,  without  the  employment  of  any  of  its  means  and 
instrumentalities,  the  unreclaimed  members  of  the  human,  and  it 
may  be  of  another  fallen  race,  into  the  kingdom  of  God.  The 
clearest  additional  revelation  would  have  been  necessary  to  counter- 
act this  strong  impression  ;  nor  can  any  reason  be  assigned  why 
this  revelation  has  been  withheld.  If  the  glory  of  God  would  be 
equally  manifested  in  this  alternative  system  of  salvation,  why  is  it 
left  in  such  shade  and  darkness,  while  around  the  historical  and 
visible  Church,  as  bringing  men  to  faith  and  repentance,  the  inter- 
est alike  of  men  and  angels  is  concentrated,  and  all  things  seem  to 
rr.o.c  for  its  extension  and  victory?  If  it  be  said  that  a  fuller  rev- 
elation of  salvation,  outside  of  and  beyond  the  scope  of  the  visible 
Church,  would  have  interfered  with  its  work,  and  made  men  less 
anxious  to  realize  a  present  salvation,  and  extend  it  to  others,  is 
not  this  to  confess  a  danger  in  the  scheme  of  Restoration  which  is 
real  and    formidable,  and    which   is   not   likely  to  attend  a  divine 


RESTORATIONISM.  393 

counsel  certain  to  harmonize  with  all  God's  other  ways?  It  is  not 
meant  to  be  argued,  that  in  no  exceptional  way  whatever  can  the 
unfathomable  wisdom  of  God  bring  about  any  salvation,  as  in  the 
case  of  infants  and  the  heathen,  save  in  the  line  and  through  the 
instrumentalities  of  the  visible  Church  in  its  ordinary  working.  But 
a  salvation  like  that  of  Restorationism,  so  wide,  far-reaching,  indis- 
criminate, succeeding  where  the  visible  Church  has  failed,  and  tran- 
scending all  her  marvels  of  grace  and  redeeming  energy,  cannot,  I 
think,  be  believed  in  without  throwing  the  ordinary  dispensation  of 
the  Spirit  into  secondariness  and  shadow,  and  making  the  visible 
coming  and  presence  of  Christ's  kingdom  on  earth  different  from 
what  it  is  in  Holy  Scripture. 

In  closing  these  observations,  it  is  to  be  carefully  remembered 
that  these  are  not  the  proper  evidences  in  reply  to  Restoration, 
they  are  only  side-lights  and  corroborations.  But  the  proper  way 
to  judge  of  their  value  is  to  ask,  if  as  various  and  important  collat- 
eral evidence  can  be  produced  in  favor  of  the  theory  that  has  thus 
been  adversely  criticized.  If  there  be  such,  it  must  be  possible  to 
bring  it  forward.  Till  this  is  done,  the  balance  of  General  Christian 
doctrine  must  be  held  to  be  upon  the  side  which,  however  often 
and  eagerly  opposed,  has  still  kept  its  ground,  and  which  with 
all  its  difficulties,  is  not  likely  to  be  displaced  by  a  scheme  that 
gives  what  relief  it  offers  by  a  wide  disturbance  of  the  equi- 
librium of  Christian  theology. — Rev'd  PRINCIPAL  Cairns,  D.  D., 
Edinburgh. 


DIVINE  RETRIBUTIOIS'. 


f/JS  ETERNAL  punishment  consistent  with  the  infinite 
justice  of  God  ?     Is   it   compatible   with  His   infinite 
goodness?     Is  it   in  keeping  with  His  design  in  the 
'■■^      creation   of  the  world  ?      The  objections    which   are 
suggested  by  these  questions  are  the  most  formidable  ones 
with  which  the  advocate  of  the  orthodox  doctrine  of  Retri- 
bution has  to  contend. 

I.  Retribution  and  the  Divine  Justice. 

Orthodox  writers  sometimes  dismiss  the  Universalist's  objection 
based  on  this  attribute  of  God,  saying  that  since  the  Bible  teaches 
eternal  punishment,  this  doctrine  must  be  compatible  with  God's 
justice.  But  this  is  hardly  a  fair  way  of  dealing  with  the  subject, 
for  it  might  be  rejoined  :  "  Whether  (or  no)  the  Bible  teaches  the 
doctrine,  is  the  issue  in  dispute.  We  claim  that  it  does  not  teach 
it ;  that  the  language  alleged  to  teach  it  does  not  sustain  the  infer- 
ences based  upon  it ;  that  the  contrary  doctrine  is  implied  in  other 
passages  of  Scripture,  and  we  are  confirmed,  moreover,  in  the  belief 
that  our  exegesis  is  correct,  by  the  view  which  we  entertain  respect- 
ing God  as  a  just  and  good  Being."  There  can  be  no  valid  objec- 
tion to  this  reply,  for  it  is  plain  that  the  doctrine  of  Retribution  and 
the  attributes  of  God  being  factors  in  the  inquiry,  it  is  possible  for 
men  to  reason  to  opposite  conclusions  according  as  they  regard  one 
or  the  other  as  the  known  quantity.  It  is  possible  to  argue  that 
since   God   is  a  being  of  infinite  justice,  it   is  not  likely  that  the 


2,g6  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

Scriptures  contain  the  doctrine  of  endless  punishment — that  doc- 
trine being  as  some  suppose,  in  conflict  with  this  attribute,  and  it  is 
possible  to  argue  that  it  must  be  just  for  God  to  punish  men  etern- 
ally, since  the  Scriptures  represent  him  as  intending  to  inflict  this 
penalty. 

A  strong  exegetical  argument  to  the  effect  that  endless  punish- 
ment is  taught  in  the  Bible  ought,  it  is  true,  to  force  the  Universal- 
ist  to  give  up  his  "a  priori  "  objections  ;  but  it  would  be  better  and 
fairer  to  grapple  with  the  objection  by  showing  that  it  proceeds 
upon  false  assumptions.  Besides,  it  will  be  easier  to  show  that  the 
Scriptures  do  teach  the  doctrine  under  discussion,  if  it  can  be  shown 
that  there  is  no  antecedent  objection  to  it  in  the  admitted  justice 
and  goodness  of  God. 

Now  when  it  is  said  that  the  endless  punishment  of  sinners 
would  be  an  act  of  injustice,  the  question  emerges,  "What  is  justice?" 
It  is  doing  right ;  but  it  is  more  than  that.  It  is  doing  right  in 
reference  to  another.  It  contemplates  two  parties  ;  one  the  subject 
of  the  just  feeling,  the  other  the  object  of  the  just  act.  Justice  is 
doing  right,  where  doing  wrong  would  be  an  injury  to  another. 
What  is  the  measure  of  Justice?  It  is  law.  Justice,  then,  is  doing 
to  another  what  law  ("Jus")  says  must  be  done.  Justice,  as  an 
attribute  of  God's  nature,  is  a  word  which  affirms  that  he  acts  ac- 
cording to  law  in  his  dealings  with  moral  beings.  The  Scrip- 
tures are  careful  to  tell  us  that  God  is  just  ;  he  is  not  arbitrary 
or  capricious.  Whatever  he  does  is  done  in  accordance  with 
law,  and  when  it  is  said  that  God  acts  in  accordance  with  law, 
it  is  meant  that  he  acts  in  accordance  with  his  own  law.  And 
God's  law  cannot  be  unjust,  for  there  is  no  higher  law  by  which 
it  can  be  compared.  If,  then,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  God  does 
punish  men  eternally,  it  is  folly  to  say  that  God  is  nnjust  on 
that  account  ;  for  he  never  acts  capriciously,  but  in  accord- 
ance with  law  ;  and  if  the  law  of  God  calls  for  the  punishment  of 
the  wicked,  it  is  folly  to  say  that  it  is  an  unjust   law,  for  by  what 


DIVINE    RETRIBUTION.  397 

higher  law  is  it  to  be  judged?  It  would  seem,  like  presumption  to 
suggest  an  amendment  to  a  Divine  enactment.  The  only  modest 
way  of  stating  the  objection  under  discussion  would  be  to  siy  that 
the  law  of  God,  or  what  is  the  same  thing,  the  nature  of  God,  does 
not  call  for  the  endless  punishment  of  the  wicked  ;  on  the  contrary, 
it  is  repugnant  to  it.  Stating  the  case  thus,  the  Universalist  does 
not  undertake  to  say  that  if  eternal  punishment  were  true,  God 
would  be  unjust — a  blasphemous  and  absurd  form  of  expression  ; 
he  simply  says,  "  The  doctrine  is  not  true,  and  I  know  it  is  not 
true."  This,  however,  implies  great  familiarity  with  the  Divine 
mind,  and  it  is  interesting  to  inquire  whence  this  information  is  ob- 
tained. It  cannot  come  from  the  Bible,  for  the  very  point  in  dis- 
pute is  whether  the  Bible  does  or  does  not  teach  the  doctrine  of 
eternal  punishment,  and  the  Universalist  is  by  hypothesis  arguing 
that  it  cannot  teach  it  ;  for  such  a  doctrine  would  be  abhorrent  to 
God's  nature  ;  so  that  the  information  he  has  is,  after  all,  the  tes- 
timony of  his  own  reason.  The  argument  is  purely  subjective,  and 
when  written  in  plain  words  amounts  simply  to  the  statement  that 
the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  is  untrue,  because  eternal  pun- 
ishment seems  to  him  unjust.  If  this  is  a  safe  method  of  reasoning, 
we  may  abandon  our  dependence  on  a  Divine  revelation,  and  Pope 
may  well  challenge  us  to 

"Snatch  from  his  hand  the  balance  and  the  rod, 
Rejudge  his  justice,  be  the  God  of  God." 

Men  must  have  sound  reasons  for  saying  that  the  doctrine  of 
eternal  punishment  is  repugnant  to  the  nature  of  God,  and  is  con- 
tradicted by  his  justice.  What  are  they?  It  is  difficult  to  imagine 
more  than  two.  It  may  be  urged  that  the  disadvantages  under 
which  men  come  into  the  world,  are  such  that  it  would  be  wrong 
to  punish  them  eternally  ;  and  it  may  be  said  that  the  sins  of  which 
men  are  guilty,  do  not  assume  a  gravity  which  calls  for  such  a  pen- 
alty ;  in  other  words,  that  endless  punishment  is  excessive  punish- 
ment.    These  arguments  deserve  separate  consideration. 


39S  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

(i.)  It  is  easy  to  imagine  a  man  giving  expression  to  his  objec- 
tion in  some  such  way  as  this  :  "  I  came  into  the  world  of  sin  by 
no  choice  of  mine;  was  born  of  sinful  parents;  by  sheer  force  of 
circumstances  was  led  into  sin  long  before  I  knew  the  evil  of  it, 
and  I  am  told  that  for  sins  which  I  coi'.ld  not  otherwise  than  com- 
mit, I  am  liable  to  eternal  punishment.  Is  this  right?"  It  must 
appear  at  a  glance  that  if  these  disadvantageous  circumstances  are 
a  valid  argument  against  eternal  punishment,  they  are  an  equally 
valid  argument  against  any  punishment  whatever  ;  for  they  are  an 
argument  against  eternal  punishment,  only  by  being  an  argument 
against  responsibility.  "We  could  not  help  ourselves;  therefore, 
we  are  not  responsible  ;  therefore,  we  ought  not  to  be  punished 
eternally  ;"  therefore  we  ought  not  to  be  punished  at  all  it  might 
with  equal  propriety  be  added.  But  men  are  punished  ;  punish- 
ment in  this  world  is  palpable,  and  even  those  who  deny  the  eternity 
of  punishment,  allow  that  some  punishment  will  be  inflicted  in  the 
next  world. 

(2.)  The  next  objection  which  might  be  urged,  and  which,  in- 
deed, is  urged  by  Universalist  writers,  is  that  punishment  would  be 
excessive  if  it  were  endless.  To  this  it  may  be  replied  that,  being 
criminals  themselves,  it  is  not  strange  that  men  should  take  this 
view  of  the  sentence  pronounced  upon  them.  Moreover,  it  is  a 
noteworthy  fact,  that  those  who  say  that  eternal  punishment  would 
be  excessive,  are  not  able  to  say  what  punishment  would  suffice. 
They  allow  (many  do)  that  the  punishments  of  the  next  world  may 
be  indefinitely  protracted,  and  that  they  may  last  for  years,  or 
centuries,  or  cycles  ;  the  only  thing  which  they  venture  to  affirm 
with  confidence  in  regard  to  them  is,  that  they  will  not  last  forever. 
But  when  men  confess  so  plainly  that  they  do  not  know  how  much 
punishment  sin  deserves,  how  can  they  be  so  confident  that  it  does 
not  deserve  endless  punishment?  They  may  say,  of  course,  that 
punishment  is  disciplinary  in  design,  and  that,  however  long  it  lasts, 
the  subject  of  it  must  be  made  happy  in  the  end  ;  when  they  say 


DIVINE  RETRIBUTION.  399 

this,  however,  they  are  not  saying  that  endless  punishment  would 
be  unjust,  but  that  punishment  being  designed  to  make  the  subject 
of  it  ultimately  happy,  it  cannot  be  inflicted  so  as  to  make  him 
endlessly  miserable.  That  eternal  punishment  is  not  necessarily 
unjust,  may  appear  from  another  argument.  It  must  be  evident, 
that  if  any  sin  deserves  eternal  punishment,  every  sin  does, — it  a 
particular  sin  does  not  merit  endless  punishment,  no  sin  merits  this 
punishment. 

Let  it  be  assumed,  then,  that  the  greatest  sin  a  man  has  been 
or  can  be  guilty  of  is  deserving  only  of  a  definite  punishment  in 
time — a  punishment  measured  by  so  many  years  or  cycles.  Then 
it  follows  that  sin  against  God,  even  the  greatest  sin  which  a  man 
can  commit,  is  not  the  worst  thing  conceivable,  for  it  is  an  evil,  the 
exact  measure  of  which  can  be  computed  in  the  figures  of  arith- 
m2tic.  Let  that  punishment  be  protracted  as  long  as  you  please, 
yet  the  moment  the  mind  reaches  in  thought  the  time  when  the 
punishment  expires,  it  will  instinctively  say,  men  might  have  done 
worse  ;  they  might  have  deserved  a  still  greater  and  more  protrac- 
ted punishment  than  that  which  they  had  deserved  for  sinning 
agamst  God.  This  process  of  reflection  is  not  an  argument  in  proof 
of  eternal  punishment ;  but  it  is  enough  to  show  that  so  far  as  God's 
attribute  of  justice  is  concerned,  the  antecedent,  and  "a  priori  "  dif- 
ficulty is  greater  when  punishment  is  regarded  as  finite  than  when 
it  is  considered  as  endless. 

There  ia  another  consideration  which  should  be  urged  at  this 
point,  and  that  is  the  self-perpetuating  power  of  sin.  The  operation 
of  this  law  in  human  life  does  not  ordinarily  provoke  complaint. 
Men  see  the  victims  of  immoral  life  go  down  to  lower  and  yet  lower 
levels.  They  say,  "  This  is  the  law  of  nature  ;"  but  it  never  occurs 
to  them  to  call  in  question  the  justice  of  the  law.  Arguing  now  on 
the  basis  of  this  self-perpetuating  power  of  sin,  it  is  not  difficult  to  see 
that  punishment  would  not  necessarily  be  unjust  if  it  were  eternal. 
For  when  the  progress  of  the  soul  in  sin  and  suffering  in  this  world 


400  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

awakens  in  us  no  disposition  to  reproach  the  Author  of  our  bcinjr, 
it  would  be  unreasonable  for  us  to  raise  the  cry  of  injustice  when 
the  continuity  of  the  souls  life  is  contemplated  ;  and  if  the  soul 
should  go  into  the  other  world  under  the  operation  of  this  self-per- 
petuating law,  the  difficulty  which  the  mind  would  encounter,  would 
not  be  that  of  supposing  this  state  of  things  to  continue  for  ever  ; 
it  would  be  the  difficulty  of  supposing  that  this  law  should  ever 
spend  its  force  and  become  powerless. 

2.  Retribution  and  the  Divine  Goodness. 

The  reverential  scepticism  of  a  man  like  John  Foster,  who 
while  admitting  that  the  language  of  Scripture  is  formidably  strong 
in  favor  of  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment,  nevertheless  acknow- 
ledges that  he  is  not  convinced  of  the  orthodox  doctrine,  is  not  only 
worthy  of  respect,  but  it  is  a  scepticism  of  which  more  than  one 
orthodox  believer  has  at  times  been  the  subject,  when  he  thinks  of 
the  infinite  goodness  of  God.  In  no  spirit  of  controversy,  therefore, 
with  no  desire  to  champion  a  foregone  conclusion,  should  a  ques- 
tion which  bears  so  terribly  on  the  destiny  of  men  be  approached. 
It  would  be  easy  to  quote  passages  which  would  show  how  Univer- 
salists  are  in  the  habit  of  stating  the  objection  under  consideration  ; 
it  is  hoped,  however,  that  no  injustice  will  be  done  if  their  argu- 
ments are  presented  in  our  own  words.  This  in  substance  is  what 
they  say :  "  Some  men  it  matters  not  how  many,  are  doomed,  you 
say,  to  eternal  misery,  God  could  have  prevented  the  dawn  of 
life  ;  he  could  have  placed  them  in  circumstances  more  favorable 
to  the  reception  of  truth,  but  as  the  case  stands,  their  unfavorable 
circumstances  work  their  ruin.  God  has  saved  some  ;  you  make  a 
great  deal  of  that  to  illustrate  his  goodness  ;  but  what  would  you 
think  of  the  man  who  would  save  two  men  on  a  sinking  vessel,  and, 
with  abundant  means  at  his  command  should  leave  the  rest  to 
perish?  Yet  this  is  virtually  what  you  ask  me  to  believe  concern- 
ing God,  and,  believing   this  to  regard  him  as   my  Father,  and  to 


DIVINE  RETRIBUTION.  40I 

feel  assured  that  all  we  know  of  parental  love  is  true  of  God,  since 
he  is  the  great  Prototype  of  Fatherhood. 

"  Would  I  deal  thus  with  my  own  child  ?  Can  I  imagine  the 
fountain  of  parental  affections  to  be  so  dry  that  no  responsive  tears 
would  follow  the  piteous  cry  of  a  suffering  child  ?  No  !  love  would 
overleap  all  barriers  ;  it  would  let  nothing  stand  in  the  way,  and 
God,  because  he  is  love,  will  not  allow  his  children  to  bear  the  tor- 
ments of  an  endless  penalty." 

To  the  objections  founded  on  God's  goodness,  the  reply  may 
be  made  : 

1st.  That  in  the  exercise  of  benevolence,  God  acts  according 
to  his  own  good  pleasure. 

2nd.  That  the  area  of  benevolence  must  be  limited  by  the 
demands  of  justice. 

If  now  it  is  allowed  that  in  the  exercise  of  his  benevolence,  God 
acts  according  to  his  own  good  pleasure,  one  has  no  right  to  say 
how  benevolent  God  will  be,  except  on  the  authority  of  some 
special  information.  The  bare  epithet  "  benevolent "  does  not  carry 
with  it  the  exclusive  significance  which  pertains  to  the  word  "just." 
In  order  to  affirm  with  propriety  that  God  wills  the  highest  happi- 
ness of  all  his  creatures  because  he  is  benevolent,  it  is  necessary  to 
add  to  the  epithet  "  benevolent "  another  qualifying  term  ;  accord- 
ingly, men  who  believe  in  the  Universalist  faith,  are  in  the  habit  of 
saying,  that  since  God  is  infinitely  benevolent  he  must  will  the 
happiness  of  all  his  creatures.  God  is  benevolent  in  electing  some, 
they  allow  ;  but  would  he  not  have  been  more  benevolent  had  he 
elected  all ;  and  can  that  be  infinite  benevolence  which  shows  itself 
in  such  a  partial  and  discriminating  manner?  God  they  say,  has 
chosen  some  to  eternal  lite  for  no  other  reason  than  that  he  was 
benevolent ;  can  he,  however,  be  infinitely  benevolent  when  he 
chose  some,  and  not  all  ?  Would  he  not  have  been  more  benevo- 
lent if  he  had  chosen  a  greater  number?  The  objection  is  clearly 
to  the  effect  that  a  being  of  infinite  benevolence  must  give  expres- 
26 


402  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

sion  to  a  benevolence  which  is  infinite  ;  or  in  other  worJs,  that  a 
being-  of  infinite  benevolence  must  be  as  benevolent  as  he  can  be. 
But  what  are  the  facts?  The  number  of  sentient  beings  in  the 
universe  is  finite.  God  is  not  as  benevolent  as  he  can  be  so  far  as 
the  number  of  those  enjoying  his  goodness  is  concerned,  for  he 
could  double  that  number.  The  benevolence  of  which  sentient 
beings  are  the  subjects  is  of  various  degrees.  The  benevolence  of 
God  might  be  manifested  on  a  larger  scale  by  bringing  the  lower 
grades  of  happiness  up  to  the  level  of  the  highest.  If  infinite  be- 
nevolence is  that  which  cannot  be  increased,  it  is  incompatible  with 
gradations  of  happiness,  and  a  dead  level  would  be  the  logical  out- 
come. The  objects  of  God's  benevolence  differ  in  their  capacities. 
A  wide  interval  separates  the  "  foraminifera  from  the  mollusk,  th-? 
mollusk  from  the  Mastodon,  the  Mastodon  from  man,  man  from 
his  Maker."  But  if  infinite  benevolence  must  be  so  exercised  as 
to  forbid  the  question  whether  God  might  not  have  been  more 
benevolent,  are  men  not  bound  to  say,  and  is  not  the  Universalist 
forced  to  allow,  that  God  is  not  infinitely  benevolent  ?  Again,  if  a 
limited  capacity  hold  only  a  limited  goodness,  will  the  aggregate  of 
limited  capacities  yield  more  than  a  finite  quantity?  And  if  what 
is  finite  is  able  to  manifest  only  a  goodness  that  is  finite,  is  there 
any  way  for  God  to  manifest,  that  is,  to  actualize,  infinite  goodness, 
except  by  making  an  infinite  being.  So  that  the  objections  that 
God  must  be  as  good  as  he  can  be  in  order  that  he  may  be  a  being 
of  infinite  goodness,  really  means  that  God  must  manifest  or  actu- 
alize a  goodness  which  is  incapable  of  being  increased — that  is  to 
say,  infinite  goodness  ;  and  this  leads  to  the  absurdity  of  saying 
that  God  must  make  an  infinite  being  as  the  sphere  in  whom  in- 
finite goodness  can  be  actualized  before  God  is  entitled  to  be  called 
a  being  of  infinite  goodness.  The  objections  that  God  cannot  be 
infinitely  good  or  benevolent  if  he  is  discriminatingly  and  partially 
benevolent,  must  be  given  up,  because  it  leads  to  absurd  conclu- 
sions.    In  other  words,  men  must  treat  God's  goodness  as  they  do 


DIVINE   RETRIBUTION.  403 

his  power,  and  regard  it  as  an  infinite  potentiality  in  him,  and  not 
an  infinity  actualized  in  the  universe. 

So  regarding  it,  however,  the  difficulty  vanishes,  and  the  objec- 
tion falls  to  the  ground.  There  is  enough  in  the  universe  to  sug- 
gest the  thought  that  God  is  infinite  in  goodness.  It  is  not  difficult 
to  believe  that  God  has  resources  enough  in  his  nature  to  make  glad 
a  universe  of  sentient  beings  ;  that  the  pulsations  of  his  heart  are 
felt  in  Orion  and  the  Pleiades  ;  and  that,  after  all,  he  could  build 
another  universe,  and  sow  the  seeds  of  a  wider  harvest  of  happi- 
ness. If  reflecting  only  on  his  goodness  to  themselves,  when  ac- 
count has  been  taken  of  the  correspondence  between  man's  corporal 
nature  and  the  external  world  ;  when  it  is  considered  how  his  senses 
are  made  tributary  to  his  enjoyment ;  when  he  has  reflected  on  the 
capacities  for  increasing  happiness  with  which  he  is  furnished  in  his 
mortal  structure  ;  when  he  remembers  that  God  has  endowed  him 
with  immortality,  has  provided  for  the  happiness  of  that  immortal 
life  by  the  sacrifice  of  his  Son  ;  when  he  remembers  that  his  life  is 
to  continue  without  stagnation  through  all  time,  and  that  God's 
goodness  is  a  fountain  from  which  he  is  to  draw  eternal  joy, — it 
would  not  be  strange  if,  under  the  inspiration  of  these  great  facts, 
he  should  fall  down  upon  his  knees  and  thank  God  for  his  infinite 
goodness.  Nay,  though  he  were  the  only  object  of  this  goodness 
in  the  wide  universe,  he  should  still  thank  him  for  his  infinite  love, 
and  it  would  not  occnr  to  him  to  challenge  the  accuracy  of  the 
epithet  because  on  reflection  he  discovered  that  God  had  not  been 
as  good  to  others  as  he  had  been  to  him. 

A  line  may  be  conceived  as  infinite  without  implying  that  it 
fills  all  space.  The  ocean  may  be  fathomless,  though  its  waters  are 
walled  in  by  the  shores  of  two  continents.  And  men,  when  they 
have  dropped  the  sounding  line  of  their  experience  into  the  ocean 
of  God's  love,  shall  not  be  deterred  from  proclaiming  that  it  has  no 
bottom,  because  the  waters  of  that  ocean  break  against  the  beetling 
coast  line  of  the  Divine  decrees.— F.  L.  Patton,  D.  D.,  LL.  D., 
Princeton,  N.  J.     (Condensed  from  Princeton  Review,  Jan.,  1878.) 


THE  DIVINE  TRAGEDY  IN  EARTH,  HEAVEN 
AND  HELL. 


"  And  in  hell  he  lifted  up  his  eyes,  being  in  torments." 


itr^l^^  HERE  are  large  numbers  who,  affecting  great  admira- 
tion for  the  amiable  teachings  of  Jesus,  shrink  back 
declaring,  "  this  is  a  hard  saying,  who  can  hear  it  ?" 
t^^^^      The  chief  of  these  objectors  may  be  classified  into 
^^     three  :  those  who  deny  that  the  Scriptures  mean  to  teach  a 
'''r^       retributive  torment ;  those  who  deem  such  a  doctrine  incon- 
sistent with  other  fundamental  truths  of  revealed  theology  ;  and 
those  who  reject  alike,  the  inspiration  of  the  Scriptures  and  the 
retribution. 

As  to  the  first  of  these  classes,  who  profess  to  accept  the  Scrip- 
tures as  of  inspired  authority,  and  yet  deny  that  they  teach  the 
doctrine  of  a  hell,  it  must  be  confessed  there  is  nothing  to  encour- 
age an  argument  with  such.  For  if  the  acknowledging  of  the  Scrip- 
tures, in  the  plain  common  sense  meaning  of  their  words,  does  not 
settle  the  question,  it  is  difficult  to  conceive  how  such  a  truth  can 
be  expressed  in  human  language  at  all.  We  need  not  stand  upon 
the  terms  "hell,"  and  "fire,"  and  "  Tophet."  If  these  are  offensive 
to  "  ears  polite,"  then  find  smoother  terms  if  you  please.  The  ques- 
tion is  not  of  words,  but  of  ideas  and  principles.  Whether  this 
scene  is  properly  named  "  Hell,"  or  "  Hades,"  or  "  Sheol,"  still  it  is 
a  place  where  a  soul  is  in  "  torment,"  afar  off  from  Abraham's  state 


406  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

of  bliss,  and  ci/ing  out  in  anguish.  So  that  the  idea  of  a  place  of 
intense  unhappiness,  separate  from  the  place  of  bliss  after  a  man 
dies,  and  this  growing  out  of  something  that  had  existed  before 
death,  is  still  left,  though  your  criticisms  have  utterly  rooted  out 
the  term  "  hell,"  or  substituted  for  it  the  smoothest  and  most  delight- 
ful of  euphemisms.  Nor  does  it  affect  in  the  least  the  principle, 
whether  the  parable  is  taken  as  narrating  a  real  or  a  fictitious  case  ; 
since  Jesus  Christ,  whose  "  truth  is  stranger  than  fiction,"  would 
employ  to  illustrate  his  doctrines  only  that  fiction  which  is  truci 
than  truth,  in  the  sense  of  having  been  specially  created  for  the  ex- 
hibition of  some  great  principle. 

The  real  objection  to  the  modern  method  of  first  applying  a 
patent  critical  machinery  to  the  words  of  inspiration,  to  squeeze 
out  of  them,  before  using,  everything  offensive  or  contrary  to  some 
new  theory  of  theology,  ethics,  or  philanthropy  that  has  been  first 
constructed  outside  the  sphere  of  inspired  ideas,  and  then  brought 
to  the  Bible  to  be  "  underpinned  "  with  texts,  is  not  so  much  that 
it  overthrows  this  or  that  doctrine  of  the  gospel,  as  that  it  accustoms 
the  people  to  trifling  with  the  divinely  inspired  rule  of  faith.  When 
the  people  are  taught  by  one  biblical  critic  that  "  hell "  does  not 
mean  "  hell,"  but  some  poetic  fiction  ;  by  another,  that  "  Holy 
Ghost "  does  not  mean  "  Holy  Ghost,"  but  a  metaphysical  figure  of 
speech  ;  by  another,  that  "  wine  "  does  not  mean  wine,  but  water 
filtered  through  grape  sauce;  by  another,  that  "slave"  does  not 
mean  slave,  but  an  apprentice  or  a  hireling  ;  by  another,  that  the 
saying,  "  All  scripture  is  God-inspired,"  does  not  mean  inspired  in 
any  sense  that  guarantees  the  scriptures  against  absurd,  mistaken 
or  legendary  statements, — how  shall  they  do  otherwise  than  con- 
clude that,  from  the  uncertainties  of  its  meaning,  the  Bible  is  utterly 
worthless  as  an  infallible  rule  of  faith  ? 

Besides,  it  seems  utterly  useless,  if  one  had  a  taste  for  it,  to 
argue  the  reality  of  future  retribution  with  such  as  profess  to  accept 
the  inspired  Scriptures,  and  yet  deny  this  doctrine.     For  even  after 


THE    DIVINE    TRAGEDY.  407 

we  have  reasoned  from  indubitable  premises,  with  mathematical 
certainty,  to  our  conckision  that  there  is  a  hell,  that  conclusion  must 
be  expressed  in  language  ;  and  it  is  beyond  the  ingenuity  of  man 
to  find  language  more  definite  and  less  subject  to  perversion  by 
criticism,  than  that  in  which  Scripture  has  already  expressed  the 
same  conclusion. 

But  they  say  the  Scriptures  do  not  mean  that,  though  they  say 
it.  So  these  amiable  theologians  and  critics  might  just  as  properly 
turn  to  the  audience,  to  which  we  have  demonstrated  that — 

"There  is  a  death  whose  pang 
Outlasts  this  fleeting  breath  ; 
And  O  eternal  horrors  hang 
Around  this  second  death" 

and  gravely  caution  them  against  alarm  at  our  conclusion  ;  that 
we  did  not  mean  what  we  "  seem. "  to  mean,  that  after  the  death  of 
the  body  the  soul  may  be  unhappy  ;  that  manifestly  we  used  poetic 
figures  of  speech,  and  allowance  must  be  made  for  poetic  license! 
In  what  language  could  we  express  the  future  retribution  for  sin  ; 
or  in  what  greater  variety  of  method  and  connection,  than  Jesus 
and  his  inspired  agents  have  already  done  ?  And  if  these  critics 
ma)'  say  that  Jesus  and  his  inspired  agents  did  not  mean  what  they 
said,  but  something  else — why  not  also  say  that,  when  we  thus 
express  in  language  the  conclusions  to  which  the  most  inexorable 
logic  may  drive  us,  we  do  not  mean  what  our  language  conveys, 
but  something  entirely  the  reverse  ? 

Of  that  very  amiable  class  of  theologians  who  deny  retribution 
on  the  ground  that  such  an  idea  is  utterly  repulsive  to  their  con- 
ceptions of  the  love  of  God,  as  every  where  declared  in  the  Gospel, 
there  is  space  now  only  to  say  that  their  conception  of  the  gospel 
is  simply  a  caricature  of  the  gospel  ;  kss  rude,  it  may  be.  but  not 
less  wide  of  the  truth  than  the  fierce  and  wrathful  gospel  of  the 
most  maligrnant  fanatic. 


408  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

The  gospel  preached  by  Jesus,  is  no  monotone  of  "  love," 
"  love  !"  It  is  no  cradle  song  of  lullaby  to  soothe  a  babe  to  sleep 
with.  It  is  no  strain  for  the  compass  only  of  the  gentle  rebec,  or 
"lute,"  or  "soft  recorder."  It  is  a  many-sided,  many-voiced  strain 
to  fill  the  mighty  compass  of  that  great  organ,  the  human  soul  ; 
to  sweep  its  infinite  diapason,  and  awaken,  alike,  the  deep  thunder 
tones  of  an  accusing  conscience  ;  the  loud  wails  of  penitential  sor- 
row ;  the  subdued  tones  of  loving  but  trembling  faith  ;  and  the 
lofty  notes  of  the  holy  ecstasy  of "  joy  unspeakable  and  full  of 
glory  !"  It  is  Jesus  Christ  who  wept  over  sinners,  saying  "  O  that 
thou  hadst  known  '"  who  proclaims  "  the  terrors  of  the  Lord  and 
flings  the  arrows  of  the  Almighty."  Remember  it  is  the  same 
Jesus  who  spake  the  parables  of  the  lost  sheep,  the  lost  treasure, 
and  the  father  yearning  after  his  poor  prodigal,  that  speaks  the 
parable  of  the  rich  man  in  hell  lifting  up  his  eyes  in  torment. 

"And  besides  all  this,  between  us  and  you  there  is  a  great  gulf 
fixed  :  so  that  they  which  would  pass  from  hence  to  you  cannot  ; 
neither  can  they  pass  to  us  that  would  come  from  thence." 

Aside  from  the  judicial  view  of  the  matter,  there  is  a  reason,  in 
the  natural  order  and  eternal  constitution  of  things,  why  the  rich 
man  and  Lazarus  cannot  spend  their  eternity  together.  While  the 
Bible  holds  forth  Heaven  and  Hell  in  the  forensic  aspect  of  the 
awards  of  a  judgment,  it  no  less  clearly  exhibits  them  as  the  natu- 
ral and  necessary  results  of  the  life  on  earth.  So  that  were  there 
no  coming  of  "the  Son  of  ]\Ian  in  his  glory  ;"  no  setting  up  of  his 
throne  of  judgment ;  no  trial  and  award  ;  no  inquest  into  the  deeds 
of  the  present  life,  heaven  and  hell  must  follow  nevertheless.  For 
those  two  estates  in  the  future  stand  to  the  present  in  the  relation 
simply  of  a  natural  separation  of  the  evil  from  the  good,  which  in 
this  present  state  are  "unnaturally"  mingled  together. 

Hell  began  on  earth  when  sin  began  ;  but,  in  virtue  of  the  great 
mediatorial  enterpwse  of  Christ  to  gather  out  of  the  doomed  race  a 
body  for  himself,  the  hand  of  Infinite  Mercy  suppresses  the  out- 


THE   DIVINE   TRAGEDY.  409 

hursting  of  its  fires  to  give  time  and  opportunity  for  Christ  to  "sec 
of  the  travail  of  his  soul  and  be  satisfied."  Hence  the  Apostle 
speaks  of  our  universe  as  simply  "kept  in  store,  reserved  unto  fire 
against  the  day  of  judgment,  and  perdition  of  ungodly  men."  And, 
since  the  work  of  redemption  is  finished,  they  speak  of  all  the  period 
that  follows  as  the  "  last  time,"  indicating  that  at  any  time  now,  the 
period  may  arrive  when  the  Mediator,  having  no  further  use  for  it, 
the  original  sentence  may  be  executed,  and  the  •'  unnatural "  give 
way  to  the  "  natural  "  order — of  the  good  to  itself,  and  the  evil  to 
itself  In  accordance  with  this  theory  of  the  race,  as  a  race,  is  all 
the  teaching  concerning  the  case  of  the  individuals  of  it.  "  He  that 
believeth  not,"  saith  Christ,  "  is  condemned  already,"  and  the  wrath 
of  God  abideth  on  him.  On  the  other  hand,  "  He  that  believeth, 
hath  everlasting  life  ;"  the  estate  of  heaven  is  already  begun  in  his 
soul.  Every  man  carries  within  him  here  the  germs  of  his  heaven 
or  hell.  The  grace  of  God  nurtures  the  one,  keeping  it  alive  to  the 
day  of  deliverance  ;  the  mercy  of  God  restrains  the  other  from 
bursting  forth  until  the  day  of  doom.  The  gospel  theory  leaves, 
really,  no  place  for  the  cavils  against  the  injustice  of  punishing  a 
man  eternally  for  the  sin  of  a  few  days  on  earth.  For,  according 
to  this  theory,  the  sinner  remaining  unchanged  by  the  grace  of 
God,  and  without  the  new  life,  goes  on  into  eternity  just  as  he  is, 
to  sin  on,  and  therefore  to  suffer  on  forever.  He  suffers  here  be- 
cause he  is  a  sinner,  though  on  account  of  the  restraining  mercy  of 
God,  he  only  partially  suffers  the  consequences  of  his  sin.  He  goes 
on  a  sinner,  and,  therefore,  to  suffer  in  an  estate  where  mercy  ceases 
to  interpose,  but  where  the  full  consequences  of  his  sin  follow  it 
forever.  Hence  it  is  represented  as  the  decree,  after  the  present 
estate,  "  He  that  is  unjust,  let  him  be  unjust  still ;  and  he  that  is 
filthy,  let  him  be  filthy  still  ;  and  he  that  is  holy,  let  him  be  holy 
still."  Thus,  also,  the  relation  of  the  present  to  the  future  life  is  set 
forth  by  the  Apostle  as  the  natural  relation  of  seed  time  and  har- 
vest.    "  What  a  man  soweth  that  shall  he  also  reap.     He  that  sow- 


410  FUTURE   X     NISIIMENT. 

eth  to  the  flesh,  sliall  of  the  flesh  reap  corruption  ;  and  he  that 
sovvcth  to  the  spirit,  chall  of  the  spirit  reap  Hfc  everlasting."  By 
the  same  law,  therefore,  under  which  kind  produces  kind,  and  by 
which  he  that  soweth  wheat  shall  reap  wheat,  and  he  that  soweth 
tares  reaps  tares, — shall  he  that  soweth  sin,  during  the  present  seed 
time,  reap  the  harvest  of  sin  throughout  eternity. 

Bear  in  mind  this  very  solemn  view  of  the  life  here,  as  simpl)- 
the  elements  of  heaven  and  hell  commingling  ;  the  heaven  sup- 
pressed by  the  antagonist  workings  of  sin  in  the  members  ;  the  hell 
suppressed  by  the  hand  of  God's  mercy  restraining  it.  Remember 
too,  that  the  condition  natural  is  that  of  condemnation,  and  the 
new  life  in  the  soul  the  beginning  of  the  everlasting  life.  Let  not 
the  fact  of  the  junction  of  the  two  estates  of  life  and  death  under 
the  social  conditions  of  the  present  life,  deceive  you  into  the  belief 
that  there  is  little  difference  between  "him  that  believcth"  and 
"  him  that  believeth  not."  When,  of  God's  grace,  that  intimate 
friend  of  yours  is  led  to  believe  in  Jesus,  leaving  you  in  unbelief, 
then,  and  there,  this  separation  begins.  A  narrow  chasm  at  first 
perhaps  ;  you  still  join  the  hand  of  friendship  across  it.  But  it  will 
go  on  widening  and  widening,  till,  after  death,  it  spreads  "  a  great 
gulf,  fixed  "  infinite  and  bridgeless  ! 

It  is  on  the  ground  of  this  second  argument,  in  the  response  of 
heaven,  that  we  meet  the  class  of  scoffers  at  the  scriptural  doctrine 
of  retribution  before  mentioned.  We  will  set  aside  that  view  if 
you  please  ;  or  even  admit,  for  the  sake  of  argument,  the  validity 
of  your  reasoning  against  the  justice  of  eternal  retribution.  But 
"besides  all  this  "  independent  of  the  question  of  the  justice  of  the 
thing — by  the  natural  and  necessary  order  of  the  universe  there  is 
a  "great  gulf  fixed  between  the  evil  and  the  good  in  the  future 
state."  And  what  though  you  have  overthrown  the  judgment  seat 
of  Christ  in  the  gospel,  and  scoffed  the  whole  theory  of  reward  and 
punishment  out  of  the  faith  and  the  memory  of  the  world — wherein 
will  you  have   bettered  your  condition?     The  evil  nature   within 


THE   DIVINE   TRAGEDY.  4II 

you  Still  exists,  and  unless  you  are  to  perish  as  the  brute,  must 
continue  to  exist  for  ever.  If  you  scoff  at  the  gospel  theory  of  a 
change  of  nature  by  a  divine  regeneration  here,  as  absurd  and 
unphilosophical,  it  is  equally  unphilosophical  to  conceive  ofany  sucli 
change  there.  So  that,  on  your  showing,  here  is  a  nature  full  of 
passions,  and  evil  passions  at  that,  passing  on,  stripped  of  all  that 
held  the  passions  in  check  on  earth,  into  Eternity,  an  inextinguish- 
able, intelligent,  conscious  being. 

Now  what  else  can  follow  than  some  such  estate  as  Jesus 
describes  by  these  tremendous  types  ?  Follow,  in  idea,  the  men 
that  surround  you  here,  embodied  in  the  flesh,  as  they  pass  into 
that  existence,  and  tell  us  wherein  the  gospel  exaggerates  the 
picture  of  what  be  their  future  estate.  Follow  this  sensualist,  whose 
only  notion  of  enjoyment,  or  capacity  for  it,  is  of  that  happiness 
which  he  has  in  common  with  the  brutes,  that  comes  through  gra- 
tified sensations.  But  now  the  link  is  rusted  away  which  bound 
his  spirit  to  the  flesh,  and  thereby  furnished  that  channel  of  pleasure 
through  the  senses  from  a  material  world  ;  and  he  rushes,  a  naked, 
shivering  spirit  into  a  realm  where  there  are  no  longer  any  senses 
to  minister,  or  objects  of  sense  to  furnish  pleasure  !  Follow  this 
Shylock,  whose  only  conception  of  happiness  is  of  gold  hoarded  up, 
and  to  whom  a  loss  by  some  speculation  or  accident  brings  the 
pangs  of  hell  even  here  on  earth — follow  him  as  his  spirit  dashes 
into  eternity,  stripped  of  all  his  wealth,  to  wander  an  immortal  beg- 
gar !  Follow  this  creature  of  envy  and  jealousy,  whose  spirit  burns 
with  the  smouldering  fires  of  hell,  if  a  rival  gets  the  start  of  him 
in  popular  esteem,  as  he  passes  on  to  an  eternal  state  in  which  the 
infinite  gulf  is  fixed  between  the  good  and  the  evil  ;  across  which 
he  must  gaze  for  ever  at  the  crowned  victors  in  the  race  for  true 
glory !  Follow  these,  or  any  one  of  a  score  of  characters  that 
might  be  cited,  into  their  immortality,  and  tell  us  what  fitter  figures 
Jesus  could  have  used  to  describe  it,  than  the  eternal  '"wailing  and 
gnashing  of  teeth !" 


412  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Yet  this  is  not  all  ;  for  it  presents  the  mere  negations  of  pleas- 
ure. And,  moreover,  it  takes  into  the  account  only  the  self  action 
of  each  individual.  But  conceive  of  these  spirits  now  all  existinj^ 
together.  To  aid  the  conception,  imagine  the  vile,  depraved  and 
reckless  of  the  earth,  even  as  they  are  in  the  flesh,  all  gathered  to 
themselves.  Empty  out  upon  some  island  of  the  sea,  all  your 
prisons,  with  all  the  "hells"  of  your  populous  cities  ;  all  the  haunts 
of  licentiousness  and  crime  ;  all  the  dens  for  the  plotting  of  dis- 
honesty. Let  there  be  no  virtuous  men  to  move  among  them.  Let 
it  be  the  place  where  law  with  its  threats  comes  not ;  where  the 
usages  of  respectable  life,  with  their  restraints,  come  not ;  and  death 
comes  not,  nor  the  fear  of  retribution  after  death.  Let  all  the  fierce 
wickedness  that  is  in  them  work  itself  out  in  a  carnival  of  every 
lust  and  revelry  of  every  passion  !  See  you  not  that  these  figures 
of  the  Scriptures  for  such  a  state  of  existence,  instead  of  being  rhe- 
torical exaggerations,  are  but  the  feeblest  approximations  of  finite 
language  to  the  expression  of  infinite  ideas  of  terror. 

Here  is  the  fundamental  fallacy  of  all  those  scoffs  at  the  gospel 
theology,  as  if  it  were  responsible  for  the  existence  of  the  hell  from 
which  Jesus  comes  to  redeem  men.  Hell  is,  in  idea,  altogether 
anterior  to  the  gospel  theology.  It  would  have  flamed  none  the 
less  fiercely  though  Jesus  had  never  come  with  the  gospel  remedy. 
Whether  the  gospel  be  trustworthy  or  not,  there  can  be  no  doubt 
that  the  germinal  fires  of  hell  do  exist  already  in  the  nature  of  man. 
And  though  the  scoffers  of  these  "  last  days  "  should  triumph,  and 
crush  out  of  the  world's  thought  every  conception  of  a  gospel,  still 
these  passions  are  alive  in  the  human  soul,  and  this  depravity,  with 
its  inevitable  sorrow  ;  and  so  long  as  the  soul  exists,  must  exist 
with  it,  save  by  some  divine  interposition  such  as  they  scoff  at. 
Will  men  never  learn  that  scoffing  at  the  proposed  remedy  does  not 
stay  the  disease?  What  though  you  demonstrate  the  quackery  of 
the  panacea  that  claims  to  be  a  sure  antidote  for  cholera  ?  That 
stays  not  the  still  tread  "of  the  pestilence  that  walketh  in  darkness!" 


The  puuislniient  ut  wanton  siuueis  tossed  about  ceaselessly  iu  the  dark  air,  by  the  most       , 
furious  winds.  —The  Inferno,  Cautih 


THE   DIVINE   TRAGEDY.  413 

What  though  you  loathe  the  remedy  which  science  has  compounded 
for  your  sick  bed,  and  cast  it  from  you  ?  That  gives  no  ease  to 
your  aching  joints,  or  fevered  brain  !  What  though  in  your  peev- 
ishness, you  strike  down  the  arm  of  your  physician,  as  he  comes  to 
hold  over  you  the  shield  of  his  skill  and  ward  off  the  thick-flying 
arrows  of  death  ?  That  checks  not  the  advance  of  the  King  o( 
Terrors  to  lay  his  cold  hand  upon  you  and  claim  you  as  his  prey  ! 
Now  the  Gospel  is  simply  a  remedy,  and  Jesus  Christ  the  Great 
Physician,  whom  you  must  accept,  or  else  let  the  disease  of  your 
soul  work  out  the  agonies  of  the  second  death. — Rev'd  Stuart 
Robinson,  D.  D.    (Louisville,  Kentucky.) 


HELL. 

Violent  diseases  require  violent  remedies.  This  is  an  incontest- 
able maxim  in  the  science  of  the  human  body,  and  is  equally  true 
in  religion,  the  science  that  regards  the  soul.  If  a  wound  be  deep, 
it  is  in  vain  to  heal  the  surface,  the  malady  would  become  the  more 
dangerous,  because  it  would  spread  inwardly,  gain  the  nobler  parts, 
consume  the  vitals,  and  so  become  incurable — such  a  wound  must 
be  cleansed,  probed,  cut,  and  cauterized  ;  and  softening  the  most 
terrible  pains  by  exciting  in  the  patient  a  hope  of  being  healed,  he 
must  be  persuaded  to  endure  a  momentary  pain  in  order  to  obtain 
a  future  firm  established  health.  Thus  in  religion,  when  vice  has 
gained  the  heart,  and  subdued  all  the  faculties  of  the  soul,  in  vain 
do  we  place  before  the  sinner  a  few  ideas  of  equity  ;  in  vain  do  we 
display  the  magnificence  of  the  heavens,  the  beauties  of  the  church, 
and  the  charms  of  virtue  ;  "  the  arrows  of  the  Almighty,"  must  be 
fastened  in  him,  Job  vi.  4  ;  "  terrors,  ?s  in  a  solemn  day,  must  be 
called  round  about  him,"  Sam.  ii.  22,  and  "  knowing  the  terrors  of 
the  Lord,"  "  we  "  must  "  persuade  "  the  man,  as  the  holy  Scriptures 
express  it. 


414  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT, 

We  aftirm,  there  is  a  hell,  punishments  finite  in  degree,  but 
infinite  in  duration.  We  do  not  intend  to  establish  here  in  a  vague 
manner,  that  there  is  a  state  of  future  rewards  and  punishments,  by 
laying  before  you  the  many  weighty  arguments  taken  from  the 
sentiments  of  conscience,  the  declarations  of  Scripture,  the  confu- 
sions of  society,  the  unanimous  consent  of  mankind,  and  the  attri- 
butes of  God  himself ;  arguments  which  placing  in  the  clearest 
light  the  truth  of  a  judgment  to  come,  and  a  future  state,  ought 
forever  to  confound  the  unbelievers  and  libertines,  who  glory  in 
doubting  both.  We  are  going  to  address  ourselves  more  immedi- 
ately to  another  sort  of  people,  who  do  not  deny  the  truth  of  future 
punishments  :  but  who  diminish  the  duration  of  them  ;  who  either 
in  regard  to  the  attributes  of  God,  or  in  favor  of  their  own  indo- 
lence, endeavor  to  persuade  themselves,  that  if  there  be  any 
punishments  after  death,  they  will  neither  be  so  general,  nor  so 
long,  nor  so  terrible,  as  people  imagine.  Of  this  sort  was  Origen, 
in  the  primitive  church,  who  was  so  famous  for  the  extent  of  his 
genius,  and  at  the  same  time  for  the  extravagance  of  it ;  admired 
on  the  one  hand  for  attacking  and  refuting  the  errors  of  the 
enemies  of  religion,  and  blamed  on  the  other  for  injuring  the  very 
religion  that  he  defended,  by  mixing  with  it  errors  monstrous  in 
their  kind,  and  almost  infinite  in  their  number.  He  affirmed,  that 
eternal  punishments  were  incompatible  both  with  the  perfection  of 
God,  and  that  instability,  which  is  the  essential  character  of  crea- 
tures ;  and  mixing  some  chimeras  with  his  errors,  he  added,  that 
spirits,  after  they  had  been  purified  by  the  fire  of  hell,  would  return 
to  the  bosom  of  God  ;  that  at  length  they  would  detach  themselves 
from  him,  and  that  God  to  punish  their  inconstancy  would  lodge 
them  again  in  new  bodies,  and  that  thus  eternity  would  be  nothing 
but  periodical  revolutions  of  time. 

Such  also  were  some  Jewish  Rabbis,  who  acknowledge,  in 
general,  that  there  is  a  hell  :  but  add,  there  is  no  place  in  it  for 
Israelites,  not  even  for  the  most  criminal  of  them,  excepting  only 


THE   DIVINE   TRAGEDY.  415 

those  who  abjure  Judaism  ;  and  even  these,  they  think,  after  they 
have  suffered  for  one  year,  will  be  absolutely  annihilated.  Others 
say  that  the  souls  of  aU  men,  good  and  bad,  pass  into  a  state  of 
insensibility  at  death,  with  this  difference  only,  that  the  wicked 
cease  to  be,  and  are  absolutely  annihilated  ;  whereas  the  right- 
eous will  rise  again  into  a  sensibility  in  a  future  period,  and  will  be 
united  to  a  glorious  body  ;  those  wicked  persons,  who  shall  be 
alive,  when  Jesus  Christ  shall  come  to  judge  the  world,  will  be  the 
only  persons,  who  will  appear  in  judgment  to  receive  their  con- 
demnation there  ;  and  these,  after  they  shall  have  been  absorbed 
in  the  general  conflagration,  which  they  say,  is  the  "  gehenna,"  or 
"hell  fire,"  of  which  Scripture  speaks,  "Matt.  v.  22,"  will  be  anni- 
hilated with  the  devils  and  the  fires  of  hell  ;  so,  that,  according  to 
them,  nothing  will  remain  in  nature  but  the  abode  of  happy  spirits. 

Such  are  the  suppositions  of  those,  who  oppose  the  doctrine  we 
are  going  to  establish.     Let  us  endeavor  to  refute  them. 

Scripture  gives  no  countenance  to  this  absurd  opinion,  that  the 
wicked  shall  have  no  part  in  the  resurrection  and  judgment.  What 
could  St.  Paul  mean  by  these  words,  "  Despisest  thou  the  riches  of 
the  goodness  of  God?  After  thy  hardness  and  impenitent  heart, 
dost  thou  treasure  up  unto  thj'-self  wrath  against  the  day  of  wrath, 
and  revelation  of  the  righteous  judgment  of  God  ?"  Rom.  2,  5. 
What  does  he  mean  by  these  words  :  "  We  must  all  appear  before 
the  judgment  seat  of  Christ,  that  every  one  may  receive  the  things 
done  in  his  body,  according  to  that  he  hath  done,  whether  it  be 
good  or  bad."  2  Cor,  5,  10.  What  does  St.  John  intend  by  these 
words :  "  I  saw  the  dead,  small  and  great,  stand  before  God  ;  the 
Sea  gave  up  the  dead  which  were  in  it,  and  they  were  judged  (every 
man)  according  to  their  works  ;  and  whosoever  was  not  found  writ- 
ten in  the  book  of  like,  was  cast  into  the  lake  of  fire."  Rev.  20, 
12-13-15.  What  meant  Jesus  Christ,  when  he  said  :  "The  hour  is 
coming,  in  the  which  all  that  are  in  the  graves  shall  hear  the  voice 
of  the  Son  of  God,  and  shall  come  forth  ;  they  that  have  done  good 


4l6  FUTURE    PUNISHMENT. 

unto  the  resurrection  of  life,  and  they  that  have  done  evil  unto  the 
resurrection  of  damnation."     John  5  ;  28,  29. 

Anything  may  be  glossed  over  and  varnished  ;  but  was  ever 
gloss  more  absurd  than  that  of  some,  who  pretend  that  the  "  resur- 
rection "  spoken  of  in  the  last  quoted  v/ords  is  not  to  be  understood 
of  a  literal  proper  resurrection,  but  of  sanctification,  which  is  often 
called  a  resurrection  in  scripture  ?  Does  sanctification,  then,  raise 
some  unto  a  "  resurrection  of  life,"  and  others  unto  a  "  resurrection 
of  damnation?"  Scripture  clearly  affirms,  that  the  punishment  of 
the  damned  shall  not  consist  of  annihilation,  but  of  real  and  sensi- 
ble pain.  This  appears  by  divers  passages.  Our  Saviour,  speaking 
of  Judas,  said,  "  It  would  have  been  good  for  that  man  if  he  had 
not  been  born.',  Matt.  26,  24.  Hence  we  infer,  a  state  worse  than 
annihilation  was  reserved  for  this  miserable  traitor  ;  for  had  the 
punishment  of  his  crime  consisted  in  annihilation  only,  Judas,  hav- 
ing already  enjoyed  many  pleasures  in  this  life,  would  have  been 
happier  to  have  been  than  not  to  have  been.  Again,  Jesus  Christ 
says,  -'It  shall  be  more  tolerable  for  the  land  of  Sodom  in  the  day 
of  judgment  than  for  thee."  Matt.  11,  24.  Hence  we  infer  again, 
there  are  some  punishments  worse  than  annihilation  ;  for  if  Sodom 
and  Capernaum  were  both  annihilated,  it  would  not  be  true  that 
the  one  would  be  in  a  "  more  tolerable  "  state  than  the  other. 

Scripture  images  of  hell,  which  are  many,  will  not  allow  us  to 
confine  future  punishment  to  annihilation.  It  is  a  "  worm,"  a  "  fire," 
a  "  darkness  ;"  there  are  "  chains,"  "  weeping,"  "  wailing,  and  gnash- 
ing of  teeth."  Accordingly,  the  disciples  of  the  head  of  the  sect 
just  now  mentioned,  and  whose  system  we  oppose,  have  renounced 
these  two  parts  of  their  Masters  doctrine,  and,  neither  denying  the 
generality  of  these  punishments,  nor  the  reality  of  them,  are  con- 
tent to  oppose  their  eternity. 

But  it  appears  by  Scripture,  that  future  punishment  will  be 
eternal.  The  holy  Scripture  represents  another  life  as  a  state,  in 
which  there  will  be  no  room  for  repentance  and   mercy,  and  where 


THE   DIVINE   TRAGEDY.  417 

the  wicked  shall  know  nothing  but  torment  and  despair.  It  com- 
pares the  duration  of  the  misery  of  the  damned  with  the  duration 
of  the  felicity  of  the  blessed.  Future  punishment  is  always  said  to 
be  eternal,  and  there  is  not  the  least  hint  given  of  its  coming  to  an 
end.  "  Depart,  ye  cursed,  into  everlasting  fire,  prepared  for  the 
devil  and  his  angels,"  Matt.  xxv.  41.  Their  worm  dieth  not,  and 
the  fire  is  not  quenched,  Mark  ix.  44.  "If  thy  hand  offend  thee, 
cut  it  off;  it  is  better  for  thee  to  enter  into  life  maimed,  rather  than 
having  two  hands,  to  be  cast  into  everlasting  fire."  Matt,  xviii.  8. 
"  The  devil,  that  deceived  them,  was  cast  into  the  lake  of  fire  and 
brimstone,  where  the  beast  and  the  false  prophet  are,  and  shall  be 
tormented  day  and  night  for  ever,"  Rev.  xx.  10.  Again,  "the 
smoke  of  their  torment  ascendeth  up  for  ever  and  ever."  These 
declarations  are  formal  and  express. 

But  the  man  who  opposes  our  doctrine,  reasons  in  this  manner. 
Which  way  so  ever  I  consider  a  being  supremely  perfect,  I  cannot 
persuade  myself,  that  he  will  expose  his  creatures  to  eternal  tor- 
ments. All  his  perfections  secure  me  from  such  terrors  as  this 
doctrine  seems  to  inspire.  If  I  consider  the  Deity  as  a  being  per- 
fectly free,  it  should  seem,  although  he  has  denounced  sentences  of 
condemnation,  yet  he  retains  a  right  of  revoking,  or  of  executing 
therq  to  the  utmost  rigor  ;  whence  I  infer,  that  no  man  can  deter- 
mine what  use  he  will  make  of  his  liberty.  When  I  consider  God 
as  a  good  being,  I  cannot  make  eternal  punishment  agree  with 
infinite  mercy  :  "  bowels  of  compassion  "  seem  incongruous  with 
"  devouring  flames,"  the  titles  "  merciful  and  gracious  "  seem  incom- 
patible  with  the  execution  of  this  sentence  "  depart  ye  cursed  into 
everlasting  fire,"  Matt.  xxv.  41.  In  short,  when  I  consider  God 
under  the  idea  of  an  equitable  legislator,  I  cannot  comprehend  how 
sins  committed  in  a  finite  period  can  deserve  an  infinite  punish- 
ment. Let  us  suppose  a  life  the  most  long  and  criminal  that  ever 
was  ;  let  the  vices  of  all  mankind  be  assembled,  if  possible,  in  one 
man  ;  let  the  duration  of  his  depravity  be  extended  from  the  be- 
2; 


4l8  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

ginning  of  the  world  to  the  dissolution  of  it :  even  in  this  case  sin 
would  be  finite,  and  infinite,  everlasting  punishment  would  far 
exceed  the  demerit  of  finite  transgression,  and  consequently,  the 
doctrine  of  everlasting  punishment  is  inconsistent  with  divine 
justice. 

Some  Christian  divines,  in  zeal  for  the  glory  of  God,  have  yielded 
to  these  objections  ;  and  under  pretence  of  having  met  with  timor- 
ous people,  whom  the  doctrine  of  eternal  punishment  had  terrified 
into  doubts  concerning  the  divine  perfections,  they  thought  it  their 
duty  to  remove  this  stumbling  block.  They  have  ventured  to  pre- 
sume, that  the  idea  which  God  has  given  of  eternal  punishment  was 
only  intended  to  alarm  the  impenitent,  and  that  it  was  very  proba- 
ble God  would  at  last  relax  the  vigorous  sentence.  But  if  it  were 
allowed  that  God  had  no  other  design  in  denouncing  eternal  pun- 
ishments than  that  of  alarming  sinners,  would  it  become  us  to 
oppose  his  wise  purpose,  and  with  our  unhallowed  hands  to  throw 
down  the  batteries,  which  he  had  erected  against  sin?  Let  us 
preach  the  gospel  as  God  has  revealed  it.  God  did  not  think  the 
doctrine  of  everlasting  punishment  injurious  to  the  holiness  of  his 
attributes.  Let  us  not  pretend  to  think  it  will  injure  them.  None 
of  these  reflections  remove  the  difficulty.  We  proceed,  then,  to 
open  four  sources  of  solutions. 

1st.  Observe  this  general  truth.  It  is  not  probable  God  would 
threaten  mankind  with  a  punishment,  the  infliction  of  which  would 
be  incompatible  with  his  perfections.  If  the  reality  of  such  a  hell 
as  the  Scriptures  describe  be  inconsistent  with  the  perfections  of 
the  Creator,  such  a  hell  ought  not  to  have  been  affirmed,  yea,  it 
could  not  have  been  revealed.  The  eminence  of  the  holiness  of 
God  will  not  allow  him  to  terrify  his  creatures  with  the  idea  of  a 
punishment  which  he  cannot  inflict  without  injustice  ;  and  consid- 
ering the  weakness  of  our  reason,  and  the  narrow  limits  of  our 
knowledge,  we  ought  not  to  say  such  a  thing  is  unjust,  therefore  it 


HELL.  419 

is  not  revealed  ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  we  should  rather  say,  such  a 
thing  is  revealed,  therefore  it  is  just. 

2nd.  Take  each  part  of  the  objection  drawn  from  the  attributes 
of  God,  and  said  to  destroy  our  doctrine,  and  consider  it  separately. 

The  argument  taken  from  the  liberty  of  God  would  carry  us 
from  error  to  error,  and  from  one  absurdity  to  another.  For,  if  God 
be  free  to  relax  any  part  of  the  punishment  denounced,  he  is  equally 
free  to  relax  the  whole.  If  we  may  infer  that  he  will  certainly  re- 
lease the  sufferer  from  a  part,  because  he  is  at  liberty  to  do  so,  we 
have  an  equal  right  to  presume  he  will  release  from  the  whole,  and 
there  would  be  no  absurdity  in  affirming  the  one  after  we  had 
allowed  the  other.  If  there  be  no  absurdity  in  presuming  that  God 
will  release  the  whole  punishment  denounced  against  the  impeni- 
tent, behold  !  all  systems  of  conscience,  providence,  and  religion, 
fall  of  themselves  ;  and,  if  these  systems  fall,  what,  pray,  become  of 
all  these  perfections  of  God,  which  you  pretend  to  defend  ? 

The  difficulty  taken  from  the  goodness  of  God  vanishes,  when 
we  rectify  popular  notions  of  this  excellence  of  the  divine  nature. 
Goodness  in  men  is  a  virtue  of  constitution,  which  makes  them 
suffer,  when  they  see  their  fellow  creatures  in  misery,  and  which 
excites  them  to  relieve  them.  In  God  it  is  a  perfection  independ- 
ent in  its  origin,  free  in  its  execution  and  always  restrained  by 
laws  of  inviolable  equity,  and  exact  severity. 

Justice  is  not  incompatible  with  eternal  punishment.  It  is  not 
to  be  granted,  that  a  sin  committed  in  a  limited  time  ought  not  to 
be  punished  through  an  infinite  duration.  It  is  not  the  length  of 
time  employed  in  committing  a  crime,  that  determines  the  degree 
and  the  duration  of  its  punishment,  it  is  the  turpitude  and  atro- 
ciousness  of  it.  The  justice  of  God,  far  from  opposing  the  punish- 
ment of  the  impenitent,  requires  it. 

3rd.  The  doctrine  of  degrees  of  punishment  affords  us  a  third. 
I  have  observed  with  astonishment  the  little  use,  that  Christians  in 
general   make  of  this  article,  since  the  doctrine   itself  is  taught  in 


420  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT. 

Scripture  in  the  clearest  manner.     When  we  speak  of  future  pun- 
ishment, we  call   it  all   hell   indifferently,  and   without  distinction. 
We  conceive  of  all  the  wicked  as  precipitated  into  the  same  gulf, 
loaded  with  the  same  chains,  devoured  by  the  same  worm.     We  do 
not  seem  to  think,  there  will  be  as  much  difference  in  their  state  as 
there  had  been  in  their  natural  capacities,  their  exterior  means  of 
obtaining  knowledge,  and  their  various  aids  to  assist  them  in  their 
pursuit  of  it.     We  do  not  recollect,  that,  as  perhaps  there  may  not 
be  two  men  in  the  world,  who  alike  partake  the  gifts  of  Heaven, 
so  probably  there  will  not  be  two  wicked   spirits  in  hell  enduring 
an  equal  degree  of  punishment.     There   is  an  extreme  difference 
between  a  heathen   and  a  Jew  ;  there  is  an  extreme  distance  be- 
tween a  Jew  and  a  Christian  ;  and  a  greater  still  between  a  Chris- 
tian and  a  heathen.     The  gospel  rule  is,  "  Unto  whomsoever  much 
is  given,  of  him  shall  be  much  required,"  Luke  xii.  48.     There  must, 
therefore,  be  as   great  a   difference   in  the   other   life  between   the 
punishment  of  a  Jew  and  that  of  a  pagan,  between  that  of  a  pagan 
and  that  of  a  Jew,  between  that  of  a  pagan  and  that  of  a  Christian, 
as  there  is  between  the  states  in  which   God  has  placed  them  on 
earth.     Moreover,  there  ie  a  very  great  difference  between  one  Jew 
and  another,  between  pagan  and  pagan,  Christian  and   Christian. 
Each  has  in  his  own  economy  more  or  less  of  talents.     There  must 
therefore,  be  a  like   difference   between    the   punishment  of  one 
Christian  and  that  of  another,  the  punishment  of  oneje  w  and  that 
of  another  Jew,  the  suffering  of  one  pagan  and  that  of  another,  and 
consequently,  when   we  say,  a  pagan   wise  according  to  his  own 
economy,  and  a  Christian  foolish  according  to  his,  are  both  in  hell, 
we  speak  in  a  very  vague  and  equivocal  manner. 

To  how  many  difficulties  have  men  submitted  by  not  attending 
to  this  doctrine  of  degrees  of  punishment !  Of  what  use,  for 
example,  might  it  have  been  to  answer  objections  concerning  the 
destiny  of  pagans !  As  eternal  punishment  has  been  considered 
under  images,  that  excite  all  the  most  excruciating  pains,  it  could 


HELL.  421 

not  be  imagined  how  God  should  condemn  the  wise  heathens  to  a 
state  that  seemed  suited  only  to  monsters,  who  disfigure  nature 
and  subvert  society.  Some,  therefore  to  get  rid  of  this  difficulty, 
have  widened  the  gate  of  heaven,  and  allowed  other  ways  of  arriv- 
ing there,  besides  that  "whereby  we  must  be  saved"  Acts  iv.  12. 
Cato,  Socrates,  and  Aristides,  have  been  mixed  with  the  "  multi- 
tude redeemed  to  God  out  of  every  people,  and  nation  "  Rev.  v.  9. 
Had  the  doctrine  of  diversity  of  punishments  been  properly  attended 
to,  the  condemnation  of  the  heathens  would  not  have  appeared 
inconsistent  with  the  perfections  of  God,  provided  it  had  been  con- 
sidered only  as  a  punishment  proportional  to  what  was  defective  in 
their  state,  and  criminal  in  their  life.  For  no  one  has  a  right  to 
tax  God  with  injustice  for  punishing  pagans,  unless  he  could  prove 
that  the  degree  of  their  pain  exceeded  that  of  their  sin  ;  and  as  no 
one  is  able  to  make  this  combination,  because  Scripture  positively 
assures  us,  God  will  observe  this  proportion,  so  none  can  murmur 
against  his  conduct  without  being  guilty  of  blasphemy. 

The  fourth  source  of  solutions  we  wish  particularly  to  inculcate 
among  those,  who  extend  the  operations  of  reason  too  far  in  mat- 
ters of  religion.  Our  maxim  is  this.  We  know  indeed,  in  general, 
what  are  the  attributes  of  God  ;  but  we  are  extremely  ignorant  of 
their  sphere,  we  cannot  determine  how  far  they  extend.  We  know 
in  general,  God  is  free,  he  is  just,  he  is  merciful ;  but  we  are  too 
ignorant  to  determine  how  far  these  perfections  must  go,  because 
the  infinity  of  them  absorbs  the  capacity  of  our  minds.  An  exam- 
ple may  render  our  meaning  plain.  Suppose  two  philosophers, 
subsisting  before  the  creation  of  this  world,  and  conversing  together 
on  the  plan  of  the  world,  which  God  was  about  to  create.  Suppose 
the  first  of  these  philosophers  affirming, — God  is  going  to  create 
intelligent  creatures — he  could  communicate  such  a  degree  of  know- 
ledge to  them  as  would  necessarily  conduct  them  to  supreme  hap- 
piness— but  he  intends  to  give  them  a  reason,  which  may  be  abused, 
and  may  conduct  them  from  ignorance  to  vice,  and  from  vice  to 


422  FUTURE   PUNISHMENT, 

misery.  Moreover,  God  is  going  to  create  a  world,  in  which  virtue 
will  be  almost  always  in  Irons,  and  vice  on  a  Throne.  Tyrants 
will  be  crowned,  and  pious  people  confounded.  Suppose  the  first 
of  our  philosophers  to  maintain  these  theses,  how  think  you  ? 
Would  not  the  second  have  reasoned  against  this  plan  ?  Would 
he  not,  in  all  appearance,  have  had  a  right  to  affirm, — It  is  impos- 
sible that  God,  being  full  of  goodness,  should  create  men,  whose 
existence  would  be  fatal  to  their  happiness.  It  is  impossible  that 
a  Being,  supremely  holy,  should  suffer  sin  to  enter  the  world.  Yet, 
how  plausible  soever  the  reasons  of  this  philosopher  might  then 
have  appeared,  the  event  has  since  justified  the  truth  of  the  first 
plan.  It  is  certain  God  has  created  the  world  on  the  plan  of  the 
first  ;  and  it  is  also  as  certain,  that  this  world  has  nothing  incom- 
patible with  the  perfections  of  God,  how  difficult  soever  we  may 
find  it  to  answer  objections.  It  is  our  diminutiveness,  the  narrow- 
ness of  our  minds,  and  the  immensity  of  the  Deity,  which  prevent 
our  knowing  how  far  his  attributes  can  go.  Apply  this  to  our  sub- 
ject. The  idea  of  hell  seems  to  you  repugnant  to  the  attributes  of 
God  ;  you  cannot  comprehend  how  a  just  God  can  punish  finite 
sins  with  infinite  pain  ;  how  a  merciful  God  can  abandon  his  crea- 
ture to  eternal  miseries.  Your  difficulties  have  some  probability, 
I  grant  ;  your  reasons,  I  allow,  seem  well  grounded.  But  dost  thou 
remember,  the  attributes  of  God  are  infinite?  Remember,  thy 
knowledge  is  finite.  Remember  the  two  philosophers  disputing  on 
the  plan  of  the  world.  Remember  the  event  has  discarded  the 
dif^culties  of  the  last,  and  justified  the  plan  of  the  first.  Now,  the 
revelation  of  future  punishments  in  our  system  is  equal  to  event  in 
that  of  the  first  philosopher.  They  are  revealed.  You  think  future 
punishment  inconsistent  with  the  attributes  of  God  :  but  your  notion 
of  inconsistence  ought  to  vanish  at  the  appearance  of  Scripture  light. 
Observe  once  more  the  quality,  and  the  duration  of  the  punish- 
ments of  hell.  The  quality  is  expressed  in  these  words,  "smoke," 
"  torment."     The  metaphorical  terms  include  five  ideas  :  Privation 


HELL.  423 

of  heavenly  happiness — sensation  of  pain — remorse  of  conscience 
— horror  of  society — increase  of  crime.  These  are  the  punishments 
of  condemned  souls.  It  remains  only  that  we  consider  the  length 
and  duration  of  them.  But  by  what  means,  my  brethren,  shall  we 
describe  these  profound  articles  of  contemplation  ?  Can  we  num- 
ber the  innumerable,  and  measure  that  which  is  beyond  all  men- 
suration ?  Can  we  make  you  comprehend  the  incomprehensible  ? 
And  shall  we  amuse  you,  with  our  imaginations? 

One  night  passed  in  a  burning  fever,  or  in  struggling  in  the 
waves  of  the  seas  between  life  and  death,  appears  of  an  immense 
length  !  It  seems  to  the  sufferer  as  if  the  sun  had  forgot  its  course, 
and  as  if  all  the  laws  of  nature  itself  were  subverted.  What,  then, 
will  be  the  state  of  those  miserable  victims  to  divine  displeasure, 
who.  after  they  shall  have  passed  through  the  ages,  which  we  have 
been  describing,  will  be  obliged  to  make  this  overwhelming  reflec- 
tion. All  this  is  only  an  atom  of  our  misery  !  What  will  their 
despair  be,  when  they  shall  be  forced  to  say  to  themselves,  again 
we  must  revolve  through  these  enormous  periods  ;  again  we  must 
suffer  a  privation  of  celestial  happiness  ;  devouring  flames  again  ; 
cruel  remorse  again  ;  crimes  and  blasphemes  over  and  over  again  ! 
"  Forever  I  forever !"  How  severe  is  this  word  even  in  this  life  ! 
How  great  is  a  misfortune  when  it  is  incapable  of  relief!  How 
insupportable,  when  we  are  obliged  to  add  forever  to  it  !  These 
irons  forever  !  these  chains  forever  !  this  prison  forever  !  this  univer- 
sal contempt  forever  !  this  domestic  trouble  forever  !  Poor  mortals  ! 
how  short  sighted  are  you  to  call  sorrows  eternal,  which  end  with 
your  lives  !  What !  this  life  !  this  life,  that  passes  with  the  rapacity 
of  a  "weaver's  shuttle"  Job  vii.  6,  this  life,  which  vanishes  "like  a 
sleep "Ps.  xc.  5,  is  this  what  you  call  forever!  Ah!  absorbing 
periods  of  Eternity,  accumulated  myriads  of  ages  ;  these,  if  I  may 
be  allo